THE decision to shut down a bar that failed to improve after a series of violent and disorderly incidents has been upheld by magistrates.

A high number of incidents involving crime, disorder and violence, including an assault in August 2019 where a man suffered serious facial injuries, have been seen at The Breeze Bar, on Ormskirk Street in St Helens town centre in recent years.

Over a period of 18 months, St Helens Borough Council and Merseyside Police worked closely with the licence holder in a bid to help them make necessary improvements and reduce violent crime and disorder.

But the council says these improvements were never made, leading to a decision supported by both authorities to apply for a review of The Breeze Bar’s premises licence in February 2020, when the Licensing Committee decided to revoke it.

The licence holder submitted an appeal, which was heard and dismissed by the district judge at Sefton Magistrates Court last month, upholding the Licensing Committee’s decision. The licence holder was also charged costs totalling £2,716.

Merseyside Police Licensing Officer Samantha Cushion said: "We're really pleased with this outcome, and hope that it sends a strong message to all licence holders in St Helens Borough.

"We will work closely alongside all our local authorities to hold bars and clubs to account when they are endangering the safety of people in the community. The vast majority of licence holders share our determination to make their premises as safe and welcoming as possible.

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"We are proactive in our approach to addressing issues of poor management, crime and disorder within all licensed premises. Such a decision to request the revocation of a licence is not taken lightly and we have given the Breeze Bar a stepped and proportionate approach to deal with the problems, but sadly seen no consistent improvements over 18 months.

“We believe that the number and seriousness of incidents reported meant that someone would have been seriously hurt if this bar continued to operate.”

Lorraine Simpson, civic events, licensing and land charges manager at St Helens Borough Council, added: “As the licensing authority, the safety of visitors to licensed premises in the borough is our top priority, so we welcome the court’s ruling.

“The decision to review this license followed many months of work by our officers and Merseyside Police to support the premises to make the necessary improvements, which sadly were never made.

“Licence revocation is not action we take lightly but, due to the lack of progress, it was ultimately necessary and demonstrates our commitment to maintaining the high standards that we expect, and which the vast majority of local premises live up to.”