Hotshotz withdraws bid for new licence to reopen
PUBLISHED: 12:30 29 June 2012
A bar which shut down after drug raids and an assault that left a man in a coma may not reopen after all.
Hotshotz bar in Meadow Street had its licence suspended by North Somerset Council in November, but the wife of the former license holder Wendy Johal submitted a fresh application in March.
But it was suddenly withdrawn at the last minute before its licensing hearing on Friday, leading a member of the committee due to hear the application to condemn the move, labelling it a ‘waste of taxpayers’ money’.
Mrs Johal and the bar’s manager, Piers Kelly, promised to break with history and revamp its bad image, with Mrs Johal stating that ‘it will be different this time’.
Police were called to Hotshotz more than 60 times between January and November 2011, including one incident where a woman was doused in petrol and another which left a man in a coma for several weeks.
Chief Inspector Jeffrey Foreman’s statement to the licensing committee in December said there had been 12 assaults in Hotshotz, with one leaving a man possibly with ‘life changing’ injuries.
The application was set for a hearing in May but was delayed due to a public notice not being placed in a newspaper by the council in time for the date due to a mixup – a legal requirement with planning applications. It was then delayed until June 22.
Tim Marter, a councillor who was due to hear the licence application on Friday, said: “I think it is disgraceful that they pulled it on the 11th hour. It is a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
He said that there were areas the applicants were trying to address and should have let the application be heard.
Police said they were opposed to the bar’s reopening and had expressed at a meeting in April that they would compile evidence about the bar to present at the licensing hearing.
But North Somerset Council revealed it received a letter from solicitors before the hearing last week stating the application has been withdrawn, with no reasons given. It stated: “Having considered the matter further, we have now been instructed by Mrs Wendy Johal that the application is to be withdrawn. In the circumstances, we would be grateful if the withdrawal could be undertaken in the absence of all parties including our client and counsel who was due to attend to represent her interests on Friday.”
Mrs Johal declined to comment when contacted by the Mercury.