Norwich bar gets back licence after tearful appeal by owner

Glen Carr and son Jonathan Carr outside Bedfords on its fifth anniversary. Photo: Glen Carr

Glen Carr and son Jonathan Carr outside Bedfords in Norwich, which has got its licence back at an appeal hearing Photo: Glen Carr - Credit: Archant

A Norwich bar and entertainment venue has partly won its appeal against being stripped of its licence for breaching Covid regulations.

Bedfords, on Old Post Office Yard, was stripped of its licence by Norwich City's Licensing Committee, as a result of an incident in November, the day before the country went into its second national lockdown.

Around 30 people were standing up in the bar singing, dancing and hugging despite strict social distancing requirements.

An appeal against the licensing committee's decision was heard at Norwich Magistrates Court on Wednesday (June 16) where it managed to partly overturn the decision.

Instead Bedfords has been handed an eight week suspension of its licence.

It has also been ordered to have CCTV in operation which can be made available to police and the licensing authority.

During the appeal magistrates were shown CCTV footage from the venue on November 4, as well as social media footage of people singing and dancing at the venue in contravention of social distancing guidelines.

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Footage was also shown of a subsequent incident, on December 23 last year, when people were still on the premises mixing together outside half an hour after the venue closed at 10pm.

Giving evidence at the hearing Glen Carr, who has owned Bedfords for the past eight years, was asked by Michael Procter, a barrister representing Bedfords, whether on November 4 last year he did the right thing

He replied: "No I didn't."

Fighting back tears, Mr Carr said: "I'm quite emotional about it to be honest with you."

He told the court his business has been devastated by Covid and this incident had just "exacerbated" the problem.

Mr Carr said there was so many grey areas during the Covid pandemic and prior to this incident police had not had any previous issues, with Mr Carr insisting "I've always run a tight ship".

Mr Carr, who has more than 30 years' experience as a doorman in the city, said: "Going forward, something like this will not happen again."

He added: "There's so much to do and so much for Bedfords to give back to the city."

Earlier, the court heard from Michelle Bartram, a police licencing officer, who told the court that prior to the incident Bedfords had a good record.

Adam Greenwood, chair of the bench of magistrates,  said that it would be disproportionate to strip the venue of its licence.

No one from Bedfords wanted to make any comment after the hearing.





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