Police want to strip former Harehills pool bar of licence, claiming it's "sheer luck there’s not been a fatality"

A Leeds bar with a history of run-ins with the law could lose its licence after police claimed its bosses were a “front” for the previous owner.

By David Spereall
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 4:45 am

Maddison Bar and Grill, in Harehills, opened in 2020, months after the Shaftesbury Pool Club at the same premises was shut down by the authorities, following a string of stabbings.

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But after being arrested on suspicion of assault at the premises in May 2021, Mr Haydaran said in a police interview he ran the business, a public hearing on Tuesday was told.

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The restaurant is in Harehills Lane. Pic Google.

Police have now accused Mr Haydaran of being “deceptive” and claimed the two directors had been “associates” he’d put up as a “front” to allow him to carry on running the place.

Mr Haydaran denied this at the hearing, insisting he only worked at the premises doing odd jobs “two or three days a week”.

But PC Andy Clifford said Mr Haydaran’s insistence he was not involved in the business’ day-to-day running was “clearly a lie”.

He told councillors: “There’s wall-to-wall dishonesty here.

“There were three stabbings within three months at this premises, some of which resulted in life-changing injuries.

“That was the tip of the iceberg really.

“There were a lot of public nuisance issues as well. There were numerous conditions being breached by the Shaftesbury.

“There were not enough door staff and CCTV rules were not being followed.

“It’s sheer luck there’s not been a fatality here.”

PC Clifford said he’d suspected in 2020 that the two directors of the new business were linked to Mr Haydaran but that he’d had no proof.

He said an inspection of the premises as it prepared to reopen last year showed its old name remained on the outside of the building. Meanwhile, the furniture and pool tables were all in the same place and many of the staff had been previously employed at the pool centre.

He suggested this proved it had not changed as a business in the way that was claimed and that Mr Haydaran was still involved.

But in response, Mr Haydaran said: “I’ve never been told by Leeds City Council that I can’t work there (at the premises) or be around there.

“I never received any information about that.

“The DPS (designated premises supervisor) was there but he’s since passed away. That’s why I was there sometimes to help out.

“I go there maybe two or three days a week for a few hours at a time. I go if they need any jobs doing or if they need anything repairing.”

Thirteen of the bar’s customers wrote in to the council to defend the venue, as both police and the local authority’s own officers called for its licence to be revoked.

One of the punters, Steve Kelly, told the hearing that the problems discussed were “historical”.

He said: “I’ve never witnessed any anti-social behaviour in there.

“Covid has not been helpful for them, as it’s not been helpful for anyone in the hospitality industry. They’re struggling to get footfall.

“It’s not the most salubrious part of Leeds, but it’s one of the few places where local residents can actually go (to socialise).

“Most of the pubs in the area have shut for a variety of reasons. It would be a crying shame if this was closed.

“It’s got a lot of potential and it would be a real loss to the area.”

Councillors were told the premises was formerly known as Starlight Bar, but that its licence was surrendered in 2012, after it was taken to task for operating after hours and disturbing neighbours.

It then reopened as a pool centre in 2017.

All parties were told they’d be informed of the council’s decision on the licence within five working days.