Nightclub licence to be reviewed after claims it caused Delta variant Covid-19 outbreak

A council has applied for a nightclub’s premises licence to be reviewed, arguing it caused an outbreak of the more transmissable Delta variant coronovirus cases in the town in the spring.

Calderdale Council’s director of public health, Deborah Harkins, and principal environmental health officer Ryan Carroll have made the application in respect of Monty’s Bar, Todmorden, which will be heard by the council’s Licensing Sub-committee on Friday, September 3.

The two officers argue that the outbreak of Delta variant in the town in the spring – the first major outbreak of the variant in Calderdale – has been traced to the club, which is housed in the Oddfellows Hall building at Bridge Street in Todmorden town centre.

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They are applying for a licence review for the premises, which is owned by Leeds-based company Everest Pubs Limited, one of whose directors, Mr Sarwinder Nangla is the designated premises supervisor, arguing that on May 21, 22 and 23, 2021, nationally-set licensing objectives in respect of public safety and public nuisance were not met.

Monty’s Bar, Bridge Street, Todmorden

In reviewing the application, the licensing sub-committee members can, if they consider action is appropriate, modify licence consitions,exclude a licensable activity from its scope, remove the designated premises supervisor, suspend the licence for a period not exceeding three months or revoke the licence altogether.

In papers with the request for review, the council officers argue: “We contend that public safety at Monty’s Bar was endangered on 21/22/23 May 2021, as evidenced by the lack of management of customer behaviour, and this was a failure to satisfy the licensing objective on public safety.”

“The cricumstances of Monty’s Bar were not just that a risk of transmission might have arisen given the poor management of the premises and customers on 21/22/23 May 2021, but in knowingly and recklessly breaching the legislation and in ignoring advice relevant to the prevention of transmission of coronavirus, it was entirely reasonable to forsee that a contagious disease would transmit in such circumstances and the facts have shown that there was actual transmission of the disease.”

For the licence holder and designated premises supervisor, Michelle Hazlewood, of John Gaunt and Partners, says the client confirms the seriousness with which they take the issue of the review proceedings against them and the premises licence holder and his team place great pride in their professionalism.

The premises has enjoyed an unblemished trading history for four years during which time the client has not attracted any negative attention from the responsible authorities, writes Ms Hazlewood.

“It is only the matters referred to in the review (regarding Covid-19), that our client has been criticised for the way in which it operates its premises,” she said, adding at the hearing they will seek to demonstrate steps they sought to undertake, their position in respect of the allegations and the manner in which the premises are now operated, including revisiting management processes.

Ms Hazlewood also adds: “We would wish to raise the distinction between public health and public safety and the availability of other methods of enforcement for the legislation arising out of the Health Act.”