A DEFIANT landlord has vowed to fight the decision by licensing chiefs to shut down his pub following a catalogue of trouble on the premises.
Southampton City Council’s licensing committee voted yesterday to close the Griffin Inn after police compiled a damning dossier of incidents.
But the pub will remain open for now after pub boss Colin Cheevers said he would appeal the decision and fight the council in court.
The decision to close down the Shirley watering hole comes just a week after they announced they will shut the Dorchester Arms in Onslow Road following a report by concerned police.
And it follows the production of a report by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) that revealed that 31 pubs close down every week across the country.
Hampshire police had called for the licence review of The Griffin after highlighting 62 incidents since Mr Cheevers took over the pub in Shirley in 2010. Among them was a reported fight with baseball bats, as well as a number of brawls both inside and outside the pub.
Police were also concerned about staff repeatedly serving customers after their closing time of 12.30am and the fact there was not an adequate CCTV system.
Officers said Mr Cheevers had not handed over footage to help officers with their investigations, even when he was the victim.
A number of residents also addressed the hearing yesterday, telling the committee they had endured years of late-night disturbances, with pubgoers sometimes making noise outside until 5am.
They also said they had to endure customers urinating and vomiting outside their houses, with one describing the pub as a “complete nightmare”.
Addressing the hearing, Mr Cheevers said he wanted the venue to be a “good community pub” and that he had arranged a series of measures to improve the pub, which included buying a new CCTV system and naming another member of staff as the designated premises supervisor (DPS).
The landlord, who recently negotiated a five-year lease extension with pub owners Enterprise Inns, also said he has a new incident and refusals log in place, staff had been given more training and was even handing out gobstopper lollipops to “calm down” customers.
He disputed the police record of 62 incidents, saying he believed there were only 21 occasions which had been within the pub’s control as the others had happened when staff were “doing their duty” in not letting rowdy people into the pub.
But the committee decided to revoke the licence, with chairman Matt Tucker saying the panel had “no confidence that the current premises licence holder can manage what is clearly based on the evidence a very difficult premises.”
He continued: “Whilst it is accepted that on occasion examples of good management can be seen, this does not outweigh the evidence in relation to the incidents of concern.”
Speaking afterwards, Mr Cheevers said: “I think it is an unjust decision. We will obviously appeal and put it to a magistrates’ court that we have done everything the police have asked us to do and the panel obviously don’t believe that is enough.”
The pub will remain open until the outcome of the appeal hearing, which will take place later this year.