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MACS bar licensing review: Police and public health officials deliver reports on assaults and alcohol promotions at closed bar

Posted on - 6th July, 2015 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Brockholes, Crime, News, Nightlife, Preston City Centre
MACs bar was forced to close for three month by a magistrate in mid-June Pic: George D Thompson

MACs bar was forced to close for three month by a magistrate in mid-June Pic: George D Thompson

MACs bar faces a battle to keep its ability to serve alcohol as councillors meet to discuss its future.

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The bar is currently closed after Preston Magistrates decided it posed a risk to public safety after Lancashire Police applied for a closure order.

Evidence to be presented to councillor on Preston City Council’s licensing sub-committee outlines a number of violent incidents in and outside the bar.

Public health professionals also outline the promotion of cheap drinks via social media by the bar.

Licensing sergeant Anthony Bushell says in documents to councillors he has “lost faith in the management of these premises.”

“The police take the view that the continued operation of these premises, under the current management, poses significant risk to of crime and disorder and public safety and as such the police make this representation with the recommendation that the Premises Licence is revoked by the Sub-Committee. ”

In defence of MACs

MACs bar has received staunch defence in recent weeks from Conservative group chairman councillor Daniel Dewhurst who says any closure risks damage to Preston’s night time economy.

A petition set up by MACs bar owner Andrew Macdonald has attracted 1,500 signatures in support calling on the city council to disregard the licence review by Lancashire Police.

Notes from the magistrates court hearing in June says two incidents in Friargate near MACS bar in April and May led to police officers fearing for their safety and one man suffering a fractured skull.

The document details a war of words between Andrew Macdonald and Preston Police about who was to blame for the incident in April.

MACs bar had said it would change its designated premises supervisor – bringing in Andy Davies and removing Colin Harper who said the job “was too big for him”. A new security company would also be employed. However Preston Magistrates ruled they would reject these proposals.

Social media drinks promotions

Lancashire County Council’s public health team, has also provided evidence to support the premises review application by police.

Clare Platt says eight people were treated by hospital staff or paramedics between September last year and April this year in relation to assaults in or outside MACs bar.

Her letter to councillors details six of the eight assaults took place outside MACs bar with seven of the victim’s saying they had their final drink inside MACs.

She is also due to present evidence of the @macbarspreston Twitter account promoting alcohol offers including Thirsty Thursdays with all drinks £1 all night, two for one cocktails and another offer with free champagne and strawberries before midnight. It also promoted a Monday Madness with two free shots on entry and £1 drinks all night.

Mrs Platt concludes: “The advertisement of cheap alcohol is a dominant feature in tweets sent by @macsbarpreston. The link between violence and alcohol is well documented. Overall I consider that the management of MACs had a responsibility to take action to prevent crime and disorder and ensure public safety, thereby reducing the occurence of such assaults.”

Councillors on the licensing sub-committee are due to meet from 10am the Town Hall on Monday, but are widely expected to appoint a chairman and adjourn for a full hearing to take place on Thursday 16 July.

What do you think about MACs bar future? Did you ever visit? Let us know in the comments below

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