We have a date set for the battle of the BHS bar.
Hospitality chain Revolution Bars Group wants to open one of its Latin American themed bars, Revolucion de Cuba, in part of the old BHS building in York.
But both the police and the council licensing authorities are opposing the move, saying it will add to alcohol-fuelled disorder.
The application will be determined at a licensing hearing next Thursday (February 8). And the battle lines have been drawn.
Drinks till 2am
The former BHS department store is being split into three units, with Revolucion de Cuba hoping to move in to the part which fronts on to New Street.
Under their proposal – approved by City of York Council planners – the bar will spread over the ground and first floor and on to a roof terrace.
All it needs now is a licence. The bar wants to serve alcohol till midnight on Sunday to Wednesday, 1am on Thursdays and 2am on Friday and Saturdays. It would open half an hour later each night.
The proposal will face a lot of opposition at the licence hearing, not least from North Yorkshire Police.
The proposed bar is in York’s ‘cumulative impact zone’ (CIZ) – an area identified as being ‘under stress from crime and disorder and public nuisance’ due to alcohol consumption.
An application for new licensed premises in the CIZ is meant to be refused unless the applicant can prove it will not cause additional disorder.
The police say the Revolution Bars Group has failed to do this.
Bar has room for 700
Officers point out that the bar is in a hotspot surrounded by five other licensed premises and the Judges Court hotel.
The police statement says: “Whilst the applicant describes the venue as a restaurant/bar, North Yorkshire Police believe that although the venue may offer food it will, in essence, be a vertical drinking establishment with a capacity in excess of 700.”
Helen Sefton, licensing enforcement officer for City of York Council, has also registered her opposition.
She writes: “The licensing authority believes that the granting of this application would undermine the licensing objectives of both crime and disorder and public nuisance.”
A York resident has also written to object, saying:
York – particularly on a Friday and Saturday – is a grim place for ordinary citizens to venture into at night, and this would help to make it worse, particularly given its location.
‘Threatening places at night’
Owners of The Judges Court Hotel, which would be overlooked by the new bar’s roof terrace, have also stated their opposition.
“New Street and Coney Street are already noisy with revellers and cause frequent disturbance to our residents and employees of Judges Court,” they write.
“These places are often threatening places to walk along in an evening and late at night.
“A further large bar attracting many hundreds of extra patrons to the area (we note that provision for 420 seats is shown on the planning application with additional guests likely to stand) cannot fail to add to the nuisance already suffered by our customers and staff.”
Councillors at the licensing and gambling hearing will have the choice to grant the licence as it stands, grant it with additional conditions, or reject the licence.
If the decision goes against the applicant, it could appeal at the magistrates’ court.
You can read all the papers here.