Decision due on city bar over alleged Covid breach

Bedfords Bar in Norwich

Bedfords Bar in Norwich. - Credit: James Randle

The fate of a city bar and entertainment venue accused of breaching Covid-19 regulations will be decided this week, when councillors could decide to strip it of its licence.

The premises licence of Bedfords, in Old Post Office Yard in Norwich, will be reviewed by Norwich City Council's licensing committee on Friday (February 10)

The review follows allegations of an incident at the popular bar on Wednesday, November 4 - the night before the second national coronavirus lockdown.

According to documents, which councillors will consider at Friday's meeting, a group of customers were dancing in the venue that night, with no social distancing.

The council's public protection officer Richard Divey states in those documents that the reason for the review is "the premises licence holder failed to comply with The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 by allowing dancing and no social distancing on the evening of November 4, 2020, thus committing an offence".

He continued: "The owner admits to being present and not taking action to prevent this breach gives cause for concern that the owner may not be able to control his premises."

Michelle Bartram, licensing officer for Norfolk police, wrote a letter backing the review, in which she said there was evidence, including video footage believed to be taken in Bedfords, that the coronavirus regulations had been "blatantly ignored".

She added CCTV footage from the venue had been requested but had not been forthcoming due to "technical difficulties".

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But she said the licence conditions meant it did not have to be provided, so that did not constitute a breach.

Glen Carr, the owner of Bedfords and the premises licence holder said he did not want to comment before the review takes place.

The panel of councillors will consider the evidence and decide what action to take.

They could decide to revoke the venue's licence, impose further conditions or stick with the current ones.

Last month,  the licence for the Three DIamonds restaurant in Upper St Giles was taken away.

The licensing committee heard it breached coronavirus lockdown restrictions by serving food and drink to more than a dozen customers.