Casa Nostra Wakefield: City centre bar refused permission to open until 4am as owner 'deeply let down'

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An application to extend the opening hours of a city centre cocktail bar has been refused.

Councillors said the application by the owners of Cosa Nostra lacked detail and was “not of the required standard”. Police and Wakefield Council licensing officers objected to the proposals by Nightlife and Bars Ltd to serve alcohol and play music indoors until 4am.

Documents submitted by police said that the director of the company is currently under investigation for two serious assaults at the premises.

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Nigel McLoughlin, the bar’s premises supervisor, accused police of breaching the director’s human rights by referring to the investigation.

Cosa Nostra cocktail bar, Westgate, Wakefield (Photo by National World)Cosa Nostra cocktail bar, Westgate, Wakefield (Photo by National World)
Cosa Nostra cocktail bar, Westgate, Wakefield (Photo by National World)

Mr McLoughlin told a licensing sub-committee meeting that the director had been stabbed three times during a separate incident at the premises.

The bar is within the council’s cumulative impact zone – an area identified as being under the most stress from crime, disorder and public nuisance.

Under the policy, new licences are only granted in exceptional circumstances. The bar currently has a licence to open until 2am.

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Mr McLoughlin said those involved in the business were dedicated to improving Wakefield’s night time economy.

He said the bar had been operating for two years, offering high-quality food and drinks with a private members’ area for a maximum of 60 people.

He added: “We have evolved into one of Wakefield’s most popular establishments.”

Mr McLoughlin said similar licensing applications at nearby premises had not been challenged by the council or police.

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He continued: “It just feels as though our application has been scrutinised more than anybody else’s. We have a licence in place and have always worked with the council’s licensing team and the police’s licensing team.

“We would like to think we offer a welcoming visit in a safe environment. We are trying to bring Wakefield’s nightlife back to what it was 15 years ago.

“The world has changed. Since Covid and the cost of living crisis, people aren’t coming out until later in the evening.

“All we are asking for is a level playing field with our competitors so that our small family-run business gets the opportunity to flourish.”

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Licensing officer PC Toby Warden said the police had a duty to raise any concerns over the premises.

PC Warden said an investigation is ongoing and a decision had not yet been made over charging the director with an offence.

PC Warden said no further details could be disclosed at this stage. The officer said the application contained “scant detail”.

He added: “There appears to be no exceptional circumstance as to why this application should be granted.

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“It appears the applicant is replicating what is already in place without real thought as to what they are requesting and how it will impact the licensing objectives within such a controlled area.”

After the hearing, Mr McLoughlin said: “We feel deeply let down by the outcome today. All we have ever asked for is a level playing field. Our application was more than sufficient but we just don’t think we are getting a fair crack of the whip.”