Hitchin bar owner has his licence taken away

North Herts District Council offices in Gernon Road, Letchworth

North Herts District Council offices in Gernon Road, Letchworth - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin bar owner has had his licence taken away following a landmark prosecution by the district council – after his business stayed open beyond legal opening times.

Kenneth Campbell, who ran the Rocabessa bar in Churchgate, originally pleaded guilty to three charges of staying open after his official licence hours, and was ordered to pay nearly £3,000 at a prosecution brought by North Herts Council District at Stevenage Magistrates Court in July 2015.

As a result of that prosecution, the terms of Rocabessa’s premises licence came under review by the sub-committee of the district council last Thursday. When making their decision, committee members took into account evidence Campbell – of Bradley’s Corner – had allowed underage teenagers onto the premises, had played music and remained open beyond operating hours, while also failing to adhere to conditions relating to security staff.

The council then concluded that due to the serious nature of the breaches and the continuing failure of Campbell to abide to conditions – even after an interview under caution by the police, and convictions at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court – his licence would be revoked.

Councillor David Barnard, who chaired the licensing panel, said: “Due to ongoing serious breaches of the terms of Rocabessa’s licence, we felt there was no option but to revoke the premises licence.

“Licencing conditions are in place to prevent crime and disorder, and to promote public safety and prevent public nuisance.

“We hope this revocation sends a clear message to traders who don’t comply with licensing conditions, and to the public we take our role as a responsible authority seriously.”

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North Herts community safety unit sergeant, Richard Wilmot, said: “We’ve a very good relationship with our licence holders, so this was an unusual position for us to be in. We were happy, however to support the council with their decision to revoke Rocabessa’s licence.

“Officers from North Herts spent a considerable amount of time dealing with Mr Campbell, discovering the venue had committed numerous licence breaches.

“As a result we are pleased the committee supported our request for revocation.”

Rocabessa bar in Churchgate will be forced to stop trading once a period of appeal of 21 days has passed.

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