Bar is refused reopening licence but duo vow 'it is not over'

PUBLISHED: 13:00 01 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:13 01 September 2012

Kashmira and Wendy Johal have applied to reopen the bar

Kashmira and Wendy Johal have applied to reopen the bar

Archant

AN APPLICATION to reopen a bar shut after drug problems has been rejected by North Somerset Council - but the couple looking to reopen it have vowed to appeal against the 'unfair' decision.

Hotshotz in Meadow Street was closed last year after a series of incidents which resulted in a police raid aimed at cracking down on the sale of illegal drugs.

A bid by Kasmira and Wendy Johal to reopen the pub was rejected at a hearing of the council’s licensing sub-committee on Thursday.

Robert Payne, one of the councillors on the committee which made the decision, said: “The place was a real nuisance to the residents and people in the town centre generally.

“It has got a really poor reputation and it’s bringing down the reputation of Weston as a whole.

“A lot of people were very happy when it closed down last year.

“We gave them (the applicants) a fair hearing and every opportunity to say what they would do differently and improve the place.

“There was simply no evidence at all that it would have been improved.

“It seems to me that it would have been the same pub with the same licensees and would attract the same customers.

“I think we made the right decision in rejecting it. I think it is important that we clamp down as far as possible on badly run pubs and we should encourage pubs to be run as well as possible.

“Hopefully the place will not open again.”

But Mr Johal says he has already lodged an appeal against the decision and will keep fighting until his ‘livelihood’ is restored.

He said: “It wasn’t a fair hearing. We knew before it started that it wouldn’t be a fair hearing. It has all been one-sided.

“We put in lots of arguments and evidence. We said we would make improvements to the pub and make it into a nice bar, more catered for families and couples.

“We have changed the layout already and spent £35,000 on the bar.

“I am very disappointed and we are going to appeal against it. It’s not over.”

He said there has been trouble in the area since Hotshotz closed, with fights and antisocial behaviour in other premises.

Mr Johal added: “We were running the bar properly and the police interfered with their undercover operation.

“We are being victimised. We have never run a bad bar. We ran 10 pubs over the years and we never had problems anywhere and always had a good reputation.

“The bar is my livelihood and I’m very passionate about it.

“They had already made their mind up at the hearing and I have lost faith in the police and the council.”

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