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Trouble-hit Wolverhampton pub allowed to re-open

By Gurdip Thandi | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

The owner of a Wolverhampton pub previously plagued with violence and gang-related issues has been given the chance to prove he can make the venue work.

The Harp Inn in Wolverhampton

Orville Hines was granted a ‘time-limited’ licence for 12 months that will allow him to reopen and run The Harp in Walsall Street, Wolverhampton.

West Midlands Police had objected to Mr Hines’ application because of concerns over crime and disorder and public safety due to a string of past incidents as the venue.

The pub had changed its name to ‘The Mississauga’, after being closed down previously in 2014, before it was again shut down in 2018.

But solicitor Heath Thomas told a City of Wolverhampton licensing sub committee hearing on Tuesday (May 14) that the trouble had occurred at the premises when Mr Hines – who has owned the building for 20 years – had let it out to a tenant between 2014 and 2018.

The committee granted the temporary licence with a string of conditions imposed, most of which were offered by Mr Hines in his application. He will then have to apply for a full licence towards the end of the 12 month term.

The Harp will be able to serve alcohol and play recorded music between 11am and 11pm Sunday to Thursdays and until midnight on Friday and Saturdays, with the venue being completely closed half an hour later.

Committee chairman Councillor Alan Bolshaw said: “We want this to be a successful venue but also a safe one.

“We don’t want this to be coming back to us before it needs to because of any wrongdoing at the premises.”

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Most of the seven hour-hearing was held in private session as they discussed police logs of specific people involved in incidents at the pub.

Sgt Steph Reynolds, of Wolverhampton Police, said: “The history of this venue is one of significant crimes including drug use, gangs, violence and noise.

“A location such as this can gain a certain reputation where gang nominals can visit and there is nothing in this application which says these criminal activities will be prevented.”

Evidence had also been presented by environmental health and licensing officers from distraught neighbours who said they couldn’t sleep due to disturbances and noise coming from the venue occurring as late as 5am.

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But Mr Thomas said Mr Hines wanted to return the pub back to how it was when he ran it between 1999 and 2014 and added he had other venues in the West Midlands where there had been no serious concerns as a result of his management.

Mr Thomas said: “Between 2014 and 2018, Mr Hines was not responsible for the premises. He was just the owner of the building itself.

“Was there any review when Mr Hines was in charge? The answer is an emphatic no and in the period he did run it, he gave no rise to any concerns of residents.

“Police say there are repeated themes of drugs, gangs, knife crime but none of these relate to Orville Hines. We are not looking to do what our predecessors did before us.”

Gurdip Thandi

By Gurdip Thandi
@Gurdo

Local Democracy Reporter covering Walsall.

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