MILNSBRIDGE’S The Armitage is to stay open and remain under the same management.
Councillors rejected a plea from the police to remove the man in charge, Carl Messen, at a meeting of Kirklees Licensing Panel held yesterday at Huddersfield Town Hall.
West Yorkshire Police had previously visited the pub in Morley Lane on January 5 and 15 and told the committee they found the public house to be “in clear breach of the licensing conditions”.
The police claimed that on the second visit, which took place at 11.10 on a Friday night, they found 50 to 60 people drinking at the pub and half of them appeared to be under age.
A further group of about eight were drinking alcohol in the street outside the premises.
In addition, a noise abatement notice had been served on The Armitage a year earlier.
The police stated that Mr Messen, who is the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) for The Armitage, was not present. There was also no working burglar alarm fitted to the property.
Pc Richard Farrand, West Yorkshire Licensing Officer, told the Licensing Panel: “We would like the removal of the DPS. We don’t feel that Mr Messen is in day-to-day control of the premises. He is rarely there, which is a breach of the premises’ licence.”
The Armitage is owned by Admiral Taverns, who own some 2,000 public houses in England and Wales. For the last 18 months it has been run by Mr Messen whose Pudsey-based company DeNeros currently manages 15 pubs and employs over 50 people in the region.
In his submission to the Licensing Panel, Mr Walaiti Rathore, representing Admiral Taverns, criticised the police for not working in partnership with the pub and said that the whole licence review had been totally unnecessary.
“The police evidence in this case is dubious to say the least. The police are seriously clutching at straws, bearing in mind that a licensing review is a last resort.
“There isn’t any actual evidence of under-age drinking or buying of alcohol. No-one was caught selling alcohol, there were no fixed penalties and no prosecutions.
He went on: “There has not been a single recorded incidence of noise reported since the abatement notice, so it has served its purpose.
“There were a lot of complaints supposedly from residents. Where are they today? Not a single one is here, which casts doubt on the police evidence.”
The panel ruled that suitably-trained staff had to be on the premises at all times and CCTV must be installed.
They also insisted on other conditions regarding the alarm system and noise levels.
The licensing review on the Shakespeare Inn, Peel Street, Marsden, has been postponed until later this month due to ill health.