Weymouth pub taking council to court over 'crippling' live music decision

·2-min read
A court date has been set for an appeal against decision by Dorset Council to modify the premsies licence of Weymouth live music pub the Duke of Cornwall
A court date has been set for an appeal against decision by Dorset Council to modify the premsies licence of Weymouth live music pub the Duke of Cornwall

DORSET Council has been summoned to court following its decision to restrict live music at Weymouth town centre pub the Duke of Cornwall.

An appeal hearing is to be held at Weymouth Magistrates court on the grounds of a complaint by the pub's landlord that the council modified its premises licence on the basis of an 'improperly conducted' licence review and that the grounds for the review are not valid.

As reported, 'Respect Weymouth' applied for a review of the Duke of Cornwall's licence in November complaining about noise. Modifications were made to the pub's licence following a Dorset Council sub-licensing committee hearing, restricting live music hours to an earlier finish time and imposing a range of noise mitigation measures.

Dorset Echo: The popular nightspot has been ordered to stop live music early following a decision by the council's licensing sub-committee
Dorset Echo: The popular nightspot has been ordered to stop live music early following a decision by the council's licensing sub-committee

The popular nightspot has been ordered to stop live music early following a decision by the council's licensing sub-committee

But the Duke of Cornwall's landlord Martin Freed (Rollings) claims the measures are "crippling" his business and are "closure by stealth" as customers leave when music finishes ahead of closing time.

Mr Freed said there has been no material evidence offered by the council to support the various claims made by Respect Weymouth, accusing the authority of being biased in Respect Weymouth's favour. The members of Respect Weymouth have not been publicly identified by the council.

The pub's landlord suspects it is only one individual, or a very small number of individuals -stating that the complaint is "an attack by an anonymous self-proclaimed action group," and therefore not valid.

The Echo previously made a request to Dorset Council on what its process is for validating whether anonymous entities are legitimate resident groups, but was unsuccessful.

Dorset Echo: Martin and partner Tina are joint licensees of the Duke of Cornwall pub in Weymouth
Dorset Echo: Martin and partner Tina are joint licensees of the Duke of Cornwall pub in Weymouth

Martin and partner Tina are joint licensees of the Duke of Cornwall pub in Weymouth

"Dorset Council has liberally applied its own interpretation to what are supposed to be black and white rules," Mr Freed said.

"We have been denied access to any noise measurement results and had to send repeated emails to the licensing department before they let us have any form of guidance as to what the licence review process is."

Mr Freed said the Duke of Cornwall has been treated in a "less-than fair manner" and that he was not allowed to question the impartiality of decision-makers during the sub-committee hearing after raising concerns about a conflict of interest.

"I was treated with obvious disdain throughout," he added.

"I believe an unfair decision has been reached in a review that should never have taken place, and in which and rules and regulations have been interpreted rather than adhered to by the people conducting it."

Dorset Council said it was unable to comment on a pending appeal. The first court hearing for the case has been set for April 19.

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