New Hastings bar makes case for late-night opening

Hastings councillors are weighing plans to open a new late night bar in the town centre.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 5:07 pm
20 Robertson Street, Hastings

On Wednesday (June 30), a Hastings Borough Council licensing panel considered an application for a new “music, comedy and arts venue” at 20 Robertson Street, to be known as South Star. 

As part of these plans, the venue’s ground floor would be used in the daytime as a coffee and craft ale house, while a basement, which is sound proofed, would be used in the evenings for live music, open mics and stand up comedy up until 3am.

However, the plans had seen an objection lodged by Sussex Police which had raised concerns about the 3am closing time proposed by the applicant Simon Mycock. 

Speaking at the hearing, Inspector Aidan Cornwall of the Sussex Police licensing team, said: “It is my firm belief that if this were to be allowed to operate within the Castle ward, where violent crime is already very high, we are only likely to see an increase in violence as a result.

“I have no doubt that the last year – in terms of Covid-related lockdowns and restrictions – has been incredibly difficult for the leisure and hospitality industry.

“But we have now got a real opportunity to start again in our night-time economy and help it be a safer and more prosperous place for our community.”

As a result of these concerns, Sussex Police said it would not be able to support the application unless additional conditions were agreed and proposed opening hours were cut from 3am to 2am. 

Mr Mycock had agreed to take on the majority of these conditions (as well as some from the council’s environmental health department) prior to the hearing, but declined to accept an earlier closing time.

Speaking at the hearing he argued the 3am opening hours were crucial to the venue he hoped to operate and would allow the business to better taper crowds leaving the premises.

Mr Mycock went on to say the intention of the venue was to attract an older crowd of 25s and over and that he would be happy to accept conditions for this age restriction on Friday and Saturday nights. 

He said: “We feel that we have come up with a plan that mitigates our impact into the area but allows us to operate on a commercially equal footing with other venues in the area. 

“We feel that our experience and our approach to those four [licensing] principles will see minimal impact into the night-time economy in terms of crime, which seems to be the main objection as we have accepted the rest of the conditions and happily do so.”

He also argued that conditions, requested by police, for SIA-trained door staff were too restrictive, as a requirement for two door staff during “jam nights” on Thursdays, would be both unreasonable and too expensive to operate.

However, he said he would accept a single member of door staff for these events and for three door staff on Fridays and Saturdays nights.

To offset this, Mr Mycock said bar staff would also be SIA-trained, but this was not considered to be an acceptable solution by Sussex Police.

He said he would also accept further conditions preventing any new entries to the venue after 1am. 

After hearing from both parties the panel retired to consider their decision in private. A decision is expected to be published within five days of the hearing. 

Any decision from the committee would be subject to appeal at the magistrates court.