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Gravesend pub King's Head licence suspended as owners appeal council decision


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A town centre pub's licence has been suspended to allow for new safety measures to be brought in and staff retrained after serious concerns were raised about violence.

But managers at the King's Head in Gravesend are appealing the decision and therefore the venue will continue trading in the meantime until the case is heard by magistrates.

The King's Head Sports Bar in King Street, Gravesend was brought before a licensing review following concerns of serious assaults on customers at the venue. Picture: Google
The King's Head Sports Bar in King Street, Gravesend was brought before a licensing review following concerns of serious assaults on customers at the venue. Picture: Google

A review heard by Gravesham council's licensing panel was told how a vicious gang attack outside the sports bar last month left a man with serious facial injuries.

It led to police bringing forward an "expedited review of premises licence" hearing to the panel, which is made up of borough councillors.

Evidence submitted by Kent Police gave details of an incident on October 2 during which officers said the victim had received "numerous punches to the head" and would need corrective surgery in an attack "consistent with a grievous bodily harm assault".

The panel was told at the time of the incident door staff employed at the King Street venue were not fully trained under Security Industry Authority (SIA) guidelines, which is the regulatory body for the UK's private security sector.

Councillors concluded the pub management had failed to uphold three main licensing objectives – the prevention of crime and disorder, the protection of public safety and the prevention of public nuisance.

The venue has appealed the decision made by Gravesham council's licensing panel
The venue has appealed the decision made by Gravesham council's licensing panel

But the panel said after taking into account submissions from the licence holder that it had started taking action to address issues, which had been agreed to by police, revoking the premises' licence would "be unjustified".

In its determination, the panel said the venue needs "to reset and take a fresh approach" after viewing CCTV evidence of "two serious incidents of very similar nature".

A third incident which took place away from the premises was also reported to the panel which said they would place "very little weight" due to it happening off site.

The report said the pub should employ three staff trained as personal licence holders.

Representatives for the pub's management requested a grace period of three months to allow two more staff to carry out the necessary qualification and allow it to "completely reset and open with all the new safeguards in place".

The panel's report said: "Having considered all those matters and advice given, the panel have decided to suspend the premises licence for three months in order for staff to be retrained, new procedures put into place and three relevant licence holders put into position."

However, this decision has now been appealed by the pub and will now be heard at magistrates' court on a date to be determined.

A range of other conditions have been imposed by the panel – which will also be pending during the appeals process.

These include no customers allowed entry after midnight, licensing activities to cease by 1.30am and the premises to close by 2am, monthly checks by a licensing consultant for two years to be reported to the council's licensing department.

It added all entry and exit points must be covered by CCTV to enable identification of every person entering the building and all current door staff replaced by a new team from an SIA registered company.

All customers must be searched after 9pm until closing time on Fridays and Saturdays and one of the new door staff team must be a woman to search female customers entering the premises.

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