The Cricketers in Baughurst, Hampshire, had its premises licence revoked earlier this year by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council following a series of issues, the most recent of which was a serious assault in the pub’s car park in December 2018. The incident resulted in the death of 53-year-old Peter Bradfield.
However, following the decision by the council’s licensing sub-committee in March to revoke the site’s licence, the previously tenanted pub will transfer to operator Trust Inns’ managed estate and reopen following a £40,000 refurbishment as the Do Drop Inn.
The owner of more than 350 pubs across the UK, privately owned pub company Trust Inns was incorporated in 1995 to acquire a substantial package of pubs from Scottish & Newcastle – adding venues from Allied Domecq and Go-Ahead Leisure a year later.
Working closely with authorities
Before the attack in December 2018, the Cricketers had been criticised for allegedly serving alcohol to minors, reportedly high levels of cocaine found in its toilets and displaying an out-of-date licence – all of which culminated in the revocation of its licence.
Speaking to the Basingstoke Gazette, a spokesperson from Trust Inns explained: “Following the closure of the Cricketers, Trust Inns has worked closely with all the local regulatory authorities to ensure all elements of the pub’s licence are met so that it can reopen.
“To this end, the Do Drop Inn opened its doors last week as a managed operation – rather than a tenancy.
“The new name reflects a change in proposition for the pub; a £40,000 spend on internal decoration, more premium brands on the bar and a new food offering, due to start in three to four weeks’ time.
“It is hoped the name change provides the pub with a new lease of life and direction, and will be appreciated and enjoyed by many local residents.”
Reinstating a licence
Andy Grimsey, partner at specialist licensing solicitor Poppleston Allen outlined the circumstances under which a pub could have its licence revoked and then reinstated. “It all depends on the circumstances, but it's got to be quite serious if the licence has been revoked,” he explained.
“It would have to be pretty bad because usually they would impose conditions first and foremost. If it was crime and disorder, they'd have door staff or additional door staff, or might cut the hours back; if it was noise, they might impose a noise-limiting condition or have regular noise checks; if it was underage sales, they'd take a very dim view obviously and might revoke the licence straight away, but it does depend on the circumstances.
“In terms of getting the licencing authority letting you reopen, firstly, if they have revoked the licence at a hearing, you would have to appeal to the magistrates’ court. During that appeal, you could carry on trading normally, it depends on the type of review – a summary review is very serious indeed and it may mean an order that the pub remains closed, but if it's a normal review then you can stay open while you're appealing the decision to revoke the licence.
“Appeals can often take three to six months to get to a full hearing before the magistrates. During that time if you get your act together, you may be able to negotiate a compromise.
“The bottom line of it all will be can the proposed new operation promote the four licensing objectives – crime and disorder, public safety, public nuisance and protection of children from harm. If they can do that then the licensing authority is likely to look favourably on negotiating to reopen.”