Ilfracombe pub has license changed after ‘serious failings’ which led to closure

The Bunch of Grapes in Ilfracombe. Picture: Google

The Bunch of Grapes in Ilfracombe. Picture: Google - Credit: Google

The owners of an Ilfracombe pub have been told they must alter its opening hours before it is able to reopen.

A review of the licence for the Bunch of Grapes heard of 'serious failings' in the management of the High Street pub between March and September.

In that time the pub accounted for 54 per cent of police logs and 50 per cent of crimes recorded from the 12 licensed premises in the town.

The meeting of North Devon Council's licensing sub committee on Wednesday (October 16) heard that noise in the early hours of the morning, which included loud music, glass being smashed, and shouting and screaming had led to one nearby resident moving out of their property.

Complaints about the pub continued despite numerous meetings between the council, police, pub manager and designated premises supervisor (DPS), as well as a Community Protection Warning Notice being issued.

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Abbeyvalley Limited bought the pub, which is now closed, in May. Director Martin Bayntun said the 'serious failings' were down to the 'poor and inadequate' management which was already in place when the company bought the pub.

The company was told by the sub committee it must improve its CCTV and put up appropriate signage regarding noise, use of glasses in the beer garden, challenge 21 policy and drugs policy.

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Its operating license has been modified so all activities will cease at midnight, including at weekends.

Mr Bayntun said the pub would not reopen until a suitable tenant is found.

In a representation to the sub-committee, he said: "It's Abbeyvalley Limited's position that it was management failures that have resulted in the incidents that have led to this review, not an inherent problem with the Premises Licence or pub itself.

"Abbeyvalley Limited believes that the Bunch of Grapes can fulfil a needed offering for the social life and economy of Ilfracombe."

"It is the position of Abbeyvalley Limited that the tenant and DPS which Abbeyvalley Limited inherited upon purchasing the freehold of Bunch of Grapes, have failed to manage the premise to the standard which Abbeyvalley Limited expects, and which the licensing authorities require.

"This management failure is probably the result of the inexperience of these individuals and their lack of prior training.

"The Bunch of Grapes is now closed and will only reopen under the control of a tenant and DPS who have the appropriate level of experience and training to be able to comply with the premises license conditions and uphold the licensing conditions."

Mr Bayntun said he was in discussions with potential tenants.

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