Published: 08:33, 09 January 2018
A troubled town centre nightspot is to reopen as a wine and cocktail bar after new tenants agreed a 15-year lease.
Council bosses revoked the premises licence at the Auction House in Ashford last year after hearing about a series of glass attacks.
But the site – which is between the junctions with Gilbert Road and Castle Street in New Street – is now set to reopen after being put on the market in November.
Stafford Perkins chartered surveyors director Richard Stafford, who signed the deal with the new tenants last week, said: “It was suffering from a lot of problems but the new guys are a professional outfit.
“There are very few licensed premises in Ashford so we had a lot of interest – we had 10 offers on it.
“The new guys have their own small chain of existing establishments and we are very pleased for them.”
The tenants have signed a temporary deal until a new premises licence is granted by Ashford Borough Council.
The building goes over three storeys with the bar on the ground floor, toilets on the first floor and kitchen and storage areas above.
"We have handed the keys over and are very pleased with the deal..." - Richard Stafford
Mr Stafford – who offered the building with a rent of £25,000 per year – added: “The new tenants will have to submit a fresh licensing application.
“The council is keen to see professionally run licensed operations in the town centre, and as soon as we put it on the market we were getting lots of calls.
“There are very few long-term empty units in the town now – we have handed the keys over and are very pleased with the deal.”
Last year, police brought the licensing review against the bar because they suspected then operator Alan Daly had tried to cover up an incident in September by supplying the wrong CCTV footage.
It followed a spate of incidents over the previous 18 months, in which there were two cases of grievous bodily harm, 13 cases of actual bodily harm, nine common assaults, two sexual assaults, an affray and an accusation of drink spiking.
The bar had also been subject to a licensing review in August 2015 after Lancashire cricketer Liam Livingstone was ‘glassed’.
It is not yet known when the bar will reopen but a new licensing application is expected to be submitted soon.