Newport bar owner, lftekhar Haris, could lose licence over police concerns
A NEWPORT club and bar owner could lose licences for his four city nightspots after police raised concerns about anti-social behaviour and public safety.
The city council will review the premises licences of Kama Lounge, Warehouse 54, Delilah’s and Meze Lounge, all run by lftekhar Haris, on the request of Chief Constable Carmel Napier.
In reports to Newport’s licensing sub committee, PC Rachael Honey-Morris said that Mr Haris has a number of premises which are “problematic” and undermine the key licensing objectives in relation to crime and disorder.
The force’s application came after Mr Haris applied to transfer the licence of Kama Lounge, on Cambrian Road, into his own name.
Gwent Police objected on a number of grounds, including that Mr Haris is currently on bail for an alleged offence of violence said to have happened outside the club. He denies the offence and is due to stand trial at Abergavenny Magistrates’ Court on April 5.
The report also says that Mr Haris could not adequately supervise these premises as well as his other three busy city centre venues.
The force then decided to look at all his premises and found they were regularly called to Warehouse 54, also on Cambrian Road, because of incidents both inside and outside. While the number of incidents decreased when an action plan was put in place, it rose again after it finished.
Police said Meze Lounge in Market Street was responsible for the second highest number of calls to the road, while Delilah’s, on High Street, was in an area considered to be Wales’ worst street in terms of the number of violent incidents.
The report said Delilah’s was well-known for holding under-age parties, which saw an increase in disorder, with many youths trying to buy alcohol in nearby pubs and off-licenses. When the parties stopped, the number of incidents fell and last year the opening hours of the premises were reduced in a bid to tackle problems.
Officers also criticised a cocktail menu displayed within the club, which used words they deemed to be obscene and an offence under the Public Order Act 1986.
A meeting with police was held and the menu was later changed.
Several businesses and club-goers have written to the council in support of Mr Haris and his “iconic” venues.
The premises licence for all venues will be reviewed by the council’s licensing sub committee next Tuesday and Wednesday.
There are several options available to the committee, including refusing the review application, changing the licence conditions, removing Mr Haris as the designated premises supervisor, and suspending or revoking the licence.
‘I have battled to keep nightspots open in city’
MR HARIS said he was “totally baffled” by the reasons for the review.
He disputes police figures on the number of incidents recorded and said they were misleading because they did not state what type of incident they were.
He said he and his staff have co-operated with officers on issues previously raised, but said a bigger police presence was needed in Newport to deter crime and disorder. Mr Haris said his businesses were already struggling to survive and said there would be little nightlife left in Newport if he were to lose his licences. He said: “I am an independent who has battled to keep these places open.
“If I were to close, what would be left? There are venues shutting every where, I have had to keep things going in order to keep the city going.”