Blidworth’s White Lion shut down for three months

.White Lion Pub Main St  Blidworth
.White Lion Pub Main St Blidworth
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LICENSING officials have shut down a village pub for three months after an attack on a woman and a mass scuffle.

Newark & Sherwood District Council also ruled the White Lion in Blidworth will also have to cut its opening hours when it re-opens.

Nottinghamshire Police had submitted a catalogue of recent problems to the authority, calling for the pub to have its licence revoked completely.

But after landlord Malcolm Hunt handed the premises licence back to the brewery last week, the force instead asked for it to be closed while new landlords are brought in by brewery Marstons.

Said force solicitor, Malcolm Turner: “This means when it finally does re-open it will be an entirely fresh start.

“It will enable the new licensee to run a properly managed pub without the influence of the bad element that’s been going there.”

The police had applied for a review saying the pub had association with ‘serious crime and serious disorder’.

Mr Hunt, landlord since 2009, had called police just before midnight on 6th May after a disorder between a large number of youths, described by officers as fighting but as ‘handbags’ by one witness.

Officers had also been to the pub at around 4.30am on 13th February after a call from the ambulance service saying a woman had been attacked at the premises. A scan later revealed she had suffered a small brain haemorrhage.

Added the police application: “The premise should have been closed at 1am and no temporary event notice was in place to extend the hours of operation.

“This incident would have been avoided if Malcolm Hunt had operated within the constraints of the premises licence and closed at the appropriate time.”

The pub has been shut since its licence to sell alcohol was suspended on 13th May, pending last week’s hearing.

Marstons solicitor Andrew Cochrane said: “Mr Hunt was in the driving seat until he came to the realisation himself it was better for him to throw in the towel.

“We’ve got to find a strong tenant who has a viable business model for the premises.”

Mr Hunt declined to comment after the hearing, but had gathered nearly 30 letters from locals supporting him before he opted to quit as designated premises supervisor.

One of them, Wendy Hikin, said Mr Hunt and landlady Sharron Carlin were ‘decent and responsible’ people, who had tried to reduce problems.

She had been at the pub on 6th May celebrating her daughter’s 18th birthday when trouble brewed.

“All was going well until around 11.30pm to 11.45pm when a group of men who we didn’t know began arguing in the pub,” she wrote.

Added local businessman Adrian Jones: “It is unfair that some individuals have put into jeopardy Malcolm and Sharron’s business, which is one of the few community centre points left in Blidworth.”

The council’s licensing committee agreed to suspend the Lion’s premises licence for three months, and imposed conditions on its re-opening including reduced opening hours.