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Talk of the Town pub in Leysdown to reopen after stabbing

Leysdown’s Talk of the Town pub is to reopen in time for the next bank holiday after winning changes to its emergency licence.

Owners Chris and Jackie Prime spent two hours on Monday with Swale council’s licensing sub-committee arguing the original conditions imposed by police following a stabbing were unworkable.

They included having three doorman on shift when entertainment was booked and all drinks decanted to plastic glasses from 6pm.

The Talk of the Town is set to reopen
The Talk of the Town is set to reopen

The couple took the shock decision to shut the pub last month after discussing the implications of the conditions with staff.

Mr Prime said after the hearing at Swale House, Sittingbourne: “I am very happy we have managed to reach a sensible agreement. We will put everything in place so we can open on Friday, May 26, in time for the spring bank holiday.”

He added: “I’d like to thank all our customers and friends who have supported us.
“We are still planning to retire in September but this way we can leave on a high rather than have a cloud hanging over us.”

Police demanded a string of tougher conditions after a “vicious” multiple stabbing in the pub on Saturday, April 8, when two groups of men hurled bottles, glasses, pool cues and pool balls across the bar at each other.

Mr Prime, 64, said: “I can’t deny it was bad. It was like a Wild West brawl. It was the worst I’ve seen in 25 years.”

PC Chris Hill said: “It is not our intention to close the Talk of the Town. To be fair, we have only been called to four incidents there in past year which, for a pub of its size, is a relatively small number.

“But on that night all hell broke loose as staff dragged children into the toilets for safety.

“Our concern is incidents can escalate and can become very serious.

Owners Chris and Jackie Prime are set to reopen Leysdown's Talk of the Town pub after winning a change to its licensing conditions
Owners Chris and Jackie Prime are set to reopen Leysdown's Talk of the Town pub after winning a change to its licensing conditions

"It is those serious incidents we want to try to stop and believe these conditions will make it a safer venue.”

He said police still wanted to interview four men, including a 17-year-old, in connection with the fight. Two male customers were drawn into the battle after a six-year-old girl ended up covered in blood.

"One of the customers was stabbed in the back with either a penknife or craft knife."

Talk of the Town landlord Chris Prime took the opportunity to plead for more police officers at the eastern end of the Island.

He said: “The real problem with Leysdown is there is not a big enough police presence during the summer. It’s either all or nothing.”

He made a special appeal to licensing chairman Cllr Roger Clark to “put a word in” to get more officers on the beat adding: “That would solve a lot of Leysdown’s problems.”

Cllr Clark replied: “I am sure the police are doing the best they can but they are very stretched.”

New conditions include:

  • Better CCTV coverage, which has already been completed
  • Two security staff on the door after 7pm (there were to be three) when there is live entertainment (karaoke is not now included)
  • Keeping records when customers are refused drinks
  • Serving drinks in plastic glasses or bottles from 8pm with all glasses cleared from tables by 9pm
  • Pool cues to be kept behind the bar and their use monitored by staff with the introduction of a £2 deposit.
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