Businessman given permission to sell alcohol at revamped Norwich pub despite police objections

20:10 19 October 2012

City Hall Lions. Photo: Nick Butcher

City Hall Lions. Photo: Nick Butcher

EDP pics © 2007

A businessman set to reopen a city pub vowed to repay councillors for their faith after receiving permission to sell alcohol - despite police objections.

James Miles intends to reopen The Marquee, in Cattle Market Street, Norwich, with work to revamp the building having been ongoing for almost four months.

But Mr Miles faced questions today at a Norwich City Council licensing sub-committee about a previous criminal conviction he has for conspiracy to blackmail in May 2002, which prompted Norfolk police to object.

The meeting heard Mr Miles agreed to help two old school friends collect a debt, which involved him test-driving a car with the intended target inside.

During the test-drive, Mr Miles drove down a street, got out the car and was replaced by the two men, who then demanded £10,000. The offence was committed in Waterlooville, Hampshire, with Mr Miles serving a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

But Mr Miles told today’s meeting: “Ten years ago I was a completely different person to the one I am now. I was in a difficult place in my life and influenced by a social set of people that were not who I thought they were. They were friends from school. It was something that was wrong.”

Mr Miles, who is a qualified chef, said he believed he had been rehabilitated and since his release had not been in trouble with the police.

He said: “I believe as part of my rehabilitation I went through a lot of changes and this stage now is the final transition away from the areas where I was in the past.”

Mr Miles added there is a demand for The Marquee to return among the Norwich music scene, but he is keen to work with the community to get them involved and ensure they are not disturbed. The application was granted two votes to one.

Paul Kendrick, licensing committee member, said: “I personally feel you will repay that faith.”


  • I cannot see the link between someone having a conviction and their ability to run a pub. The police might be in the wrong to object. If we keep condemning someone then they will never be part of society. The Marquee was a great pub with loads of bands playing there and has been missed by many.

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    Saturday, October 20, 2012

  • The EDP should be supporting local music and the people who are giving everything to try and make Norwich better not doing hatchet jobs on them. Everybody makes mistakes and it sounds like the landlord did his time now give the guy a break and start reporting positive news about a run down closed once great venue being re-furbished and reopened which will hopefully be an asset to the local scene.

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    Saturday, October 20, 2012

  • .....previous criminal conviction he has for conspiracy to blackmail in May 2002, which prompted Norfolk police to object......Not really, someone (a real person) within Norfolk Police objected, so it should read PC XYZ of Norfolk Police objected...for example Chief Constable Philip Gormley of Norfolk Police objected to the alcohol license of James Miles because he has a previous conviction.....

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    Sunday, October 21, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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