The future of live music lies in the hands of licensing committee

Georges March owner Nigel Marsh Georges March owner Nigel Marsh

Monday, December 30, 2013
2:19 PM

Live music could be under threat if a March pub is forced to employ door staff, according to the landlord, who says the extra wage cost would make it unworkable.

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The landlord of The Georges is being called to a licensing hearing after town councillor Kit Owen put in an official request for it to be reviewed due to what he says is excessive noise and loud music played later than the license allows.

The review has prompted a flurry of letters in equal measure of support versus protest leaving licensing officers with a decision to make on January 16 as to how the future will pan out for the town centre venue.

Until a decision is made all live music has been cancelled at the pub.

Cllr Owen has submitted an application to Fenland District Council calling for them to take another look at the Georges licence saying there is “inappropriate activity” at the premises including not taking adequate steps to control music noise and shouting and fighting in the front garden.

A potential outcome could be calling on him to have bouncers on the door.

Nigel Marsh said: “If such a condition to impose door staff are implemented it would make Georges unworkable as an extra £100 per evening would be added to the expenses. Police still see no need for the door staff and have not asked for such harsh measures.”

He added that if such measure were added he would have to consider closing Georges as a live music venue as it would no longer be financially viable and would add an extra 50p per pint.

“Such a surcharge in a working class market town is simply not viable,” he said.

Residents who live nearby have kept logs of what, they say, are music events running beyond the allowed time as well as noise disturbances from customers.

However, a letter from Kevin and Pamela Dunham, who run a business opposite The Georges, says: “At no time have we witnessed any criminal activity in Georges Bar nor have we been disturbed by any claimed noise nuisance.

“It remains a mystery why Cllr Owen should choose to highlight George’s Bar when there are other bars with much later licenses that can and do cause a public nuisance, but it seems, no-one is complaining about The Griffin or Cassanos.”

Pubwatch have joined the debate asking officers to not add any licensing conditions asking him to be a member of the scheme as he has already been banned.

“Mr Marsh was expelled from the March Pubwatch Scheme for undermining the principles of Pubwatch as he did not abide by the decisions of the Watch,” a Pubwatch report said.

Mr Marsh said: “Kit Owen claims that all the noise in the High street originates from Georges and Georges should have its alcohol licence removed. “

“However he added that police have no concerns over the management of Georges and is on a ‘green light’ and are safe evening venue.

In October we implemented a neighbourhood polite policy which includes triple glazing to our windows, use of side door after 11 pm, limiting usage of front beer garden after 11 pm. These policies were implemented after listening to concerns from our neighbours .”

As a precautionary measure he has cancelled most live music in 2014 until the hearing has taken place.

1 comment

  • No idea where the idea of support and complaints in equal numbers comes from? There's been overwhelming support for the bar with more than 500 people signing to support the bar and there have also been a selection of personal letters of strong support sent to the Committee.

    Report this comment

    Mo Stewart

    Wednesday, January 1, 2014

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