Bar could lose li­cence amid po­lice con­cerns over fights

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Late Night Fears - By Vicky Castle

A pop­u­lar Ash­ford bar could have its li­cence taken away af­ter po­lice re­ceived 25 com­plaints in just six months – an av­er­age of one a week.

Po­lice of­fi­cers say the Auc­tion House, in New Street, is “as­so­ci­ated with se­ri­ous crime, or se­ri­ous dis­or­der or both” af­ter it was linked to in­ci­dents that have in­cluded fights and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil’s li­cens­ing team will hold a full re­view of the town cen­tre hotspot next Wed­nes­day.

Po­lice made an ap­pli­ca­tion to the coun­cil to hold an in­quiry just four days af­ter a brawl broke out at the late-night bar in­volv­ing sev­eral mem­bers of Lan­cashire County Cricket Club last month.

The team had been in the bar cel­e­brat­ing that day’s vic­tory over Kent when a fra­cas saw drinks and punches thrown with one player, Liam Liv­ing­stone, said to have been glassed in the face.

Bounc­ers from the club stepped in and took peo­ple out­side while po­lice and am­bu­lance crews were called to the bar.

Although door and bar staff were praised for their “swift in­ter­ven­tion” dur­ing the fight, the sub-com­mit­tee mem­bers said they were con­cerned about glass be­ing used as an “ef­fec­tive weapon”.

Since the in­terim re­view on Au­gust 19, the bar has been or­dered to serve all drinks in plas­tic glasses.

In ad­di­tion to the three se­ri­ous as­saults on Au­gust 16, po­lice said they had re­ceived 25 calls re­lat­ing to the premises be­tween Jan­uary 18 and Au­gust 1.

Un­der its cur­rent li­cence, The Auc­tion House is able to play mu­sic and sell al­co­hol un­til 3am, seven days a week.

The com­mit­tee will be able to amend cer­tain points, add con­di­tions or even re­voke the li­cence al­to­gether.

Po­lice are keen to en­sure drinks con­tinue to be served in plas­tic glasses, that all staff are trained in re­spon­si­ble sales of al­co­hol, that a new CCTV sys­tem is in­stalled and that Se­cu­rity In­dus­try Au­thor­ity (SIA) reg­is­tered door staff re­main on the premises un­til ev­ery­one has left.

When asked about the bar brawl, a po­lice spokesman said no one had been ar­rested.

She added: “In­quiries are on­go­ing and we are still ap­peal­ing for wit­nesses.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the in­ci­dent should call po­lice on 01843 222289 or Kent Crimestop­pers anony­mously on 0800 555 111 quot­ing ZY/ 025414/15.

Above, Lan­cashire player Liam Liv­ing­stone is be­lieved to have been in­jured dur­ing a brawl at The Auc­tion House Bar in Ash­fords New Street, right

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