Action to deal with problem town pub

A TOWN pub may be forced to close its doors temporarily after a spate of complaints caused the licensing authority to remove the licence holder from the premises.

Eight complaints about noise, nuisance and violence have been made about The Great Northern since Muhammed Qutab took over as the licensee in December, and despite intervention from both the police and Boston Borough Council, little action has been taken to resolve the issues.

At a meeting of the council’s Licensing Sub-Committee last Tuesday, members removed Mr Qutab as the designated premises supervisor (DPS) at the Station Street pub.

At the meeting, environmental protection officer Keith Fulcher said the first complaint came in January, when a nearby resident reported loud music coming from the premises. Further complaints were received between then and April, despite police and licensing officers meeting with Mr Qutab and pub manager Ken Halliday to discuss a solution.

Sgt John Mellor, of Lincolnshire Police, added: “In the history of the pub there had been one incident. Within about six weeks of Mr Halliday becoming manager there were eight.

“Previous to that it was a little local pub with one little blip. When Mr Halliday took over it became what we would term a problem premises.”

The sergeant added that he was concerned about the capabilities of the DPS and the manager, especially when Mr Qutab was unable to name a single one of the legal objectives of his licence.

Coun Mike Gilbert, who represents the borough’s town centre ward, detailed some complaints, including one incident when a large-scale fight led to the pub windows being smashed.

He told the committee: “This is not the sort of thing which the people of this area are used to experiencing. This is something which is little heard of in this quiet area of Boston.”

Mr Qutab, said he had made efforts to improve the pub, putting extra glass at the back of the windows during live music events and installing CCTV.

He said: “I apologise that my neighbours heard.”

However, the committee made the decision to remove Mr Qutab as the DPS. Councillors also said live and recorded music could no longer be played at the premises.

By law, every premises selling alcohol is required to have a DPS, so unless another is appointed soon, the pub will not be able to sell alcohol.

Mr Qutab now has 21 days to appeal against the decision, during which the pub can continue to operate as it has been doing.