Hastings bar’s opening hours cut after licensing hearing

A Hastings bar has had its hours cut back following a licensing hearing.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 12:05 pm
Crowleys Bar in Hastings SUS-210421-104355001
Crowleys Bar in Hastings SUS-210421-104355001

Last week, a Hastings Borough Council licensing panel considered an application from Sussex Police to review and alter the licence of Crowleys, a bar on the corner of Havelock and Devonshire Road.  

First submitted in March, the application called for the bar to have its hours cut, its licence suspended and its Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) removed.

Police said this was due to concerns around violence, drug use, excessive drunkenness and breaches of coronavirus restrictions.

However, by the time the hearing was held on Wednesday, June 23, the two parties had largely come to an agreement on the correct way forward.

Despite this, there remained a disagreement over the bar’s new hours of operation. While the business had agreed to cut back its normal operating hours, it asked to retain a later licence for live music events on Saturday nights (up until 2am at latest).

Through its legal representative, the bar said these events would be a way to change the bar’s image and argued a weekly event would make this change more effective.

Sussex Police said it would not object to this request as long as these events were pre-arranged and limited to no more than twice a month. This view was shared by the licensing panel.

In a decision notice published this week, a spokesman for the council said: “The sub-committee listened to all parties and notes that many of the issues raised by the review had been addressed prior to the hearing and agreement had been reached in respect of many of the proposed conditions put forward by the police and Hastings Borough Council’s Environmental Health officer.

“There remained disagreement on the extended operating hours on a certain number of Saturdays per month. 

“On considering the arguments made by the parties, the sub-committee agreed with the cautious approach proposed by Sussex Police with regards to limiting the extended hours to two Saturdays per month, given the history of the premises referred to above.”

As part of this, the panel also put more restrictive hours in place than had been requested by the business. As a result the bar will only be able to operate until 1am during these bi-monthly events and also be required to inform police of any events with 30 days notice.

The bar’s normal operating hours have also been cut back, from 2am to midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

As well as the changes in hours, the bar agreed to adopt a number of new conditions. These included conditions around CCTV, staff training and the enforcing of a zero tolerance drugs policy.

Another area of dispute was the role of the bar’s operators – Alan and Michael Naylor – in the business going forward.

In their initial application Sussex Police had called on the licensing panel to remove Alan Naylor as DPS and to have a say in naming a successor. However, Mr Naylor had himself stood down as the DPS in February.

While this appeared to have resolved the matter, the panel heard during the meeting that Mr Naylor (together with his brother) would be the new DPS’s employer.

This was not acceptable to Sussex Police, which urged the panel to consider adding a condition preventing both Alan and Michael Naylor from being involved in the day-to-day running of the business.

The business argued this condition would be unnecessary, however, as the new DPS would be given full autonomy. 

No such condition was added by the panel. 

The panel’s decision remains subject to appeal at the magistrates’ court.