Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Historic Belfast bar loses its entertainment licence

The entertainment licence at one of Belfast’s oldest pubs has been suspended due to public safety fears, it was confirmed yesterday.

Lawyers told the High Court that a city council committee took the decision at a meeting to discuss claims of overcrowding and a locked emergency exit at White’s Tavern. The action followed a temporary injunction granted against the bar last week.

David Scoffield, for the Council, informed Mr Justice Deeny: “The committee determined it would exercise its powers to suspend the licence. The licence having been suspended, entertainment cannot be provided at that premises.”

Although the bar on Winecellar Entry can continue to operate and sell drink, it is now prohibited from holding discos. Mr Scoffield said the suspension will run until the licence expires.

He said Whites Tavern owner Stephen Nixon — who made representations to the licensing committee but did not attend the High Court hearing — can appeal the decision in the County Court.

Belfast City Council took action following an inspection at the premises last month.

During their visit, staff allegedly discovered an emergency exit was locked and unable to be immediately opened.

It was also claimed that over 100 people were on the bar’s first floor when the licence only permits 60 customers.

With the injunction ended, Mr Justice Deeny awarded costs against Mr Nixon.

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