Leeds Old Red Lion licence revoked after police urge councillors to shut down Whinmoor pub

A Leeds pub faces closure after councillors voted unanimously to revoke its licence in the wake of a series of violent incidents.

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 3:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 3:52 pm

The Old Red Lion's licence to sell alcohol and host live music had already been suspended pending a summary review after police called for it to be shut down.

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Regulars of the pub in Whinmoor had rallied behind landlord and landlady Ian and Jacqueline Lightfoot, with dozens writing letters of support ahead of the hearing at Leeds Civic Hall on Tuesday.

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Councillors have voted to revoke the licence of the Old Red Lion in York Road, Whinmoor. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

But the by a Leeds City Council Licensing Sub-Committee voted to revoke the licence, meaning the current suspension remains in force until a 21-day period for an appeal has passed.

Documents placed before councillors included a statement from West Yorkshire Police setting out details of a stabbing in June, as well as numerous reports of antisocial behaviour at the pub in York Road.

The document stated: "There appears to be a pattern whereby people are settling bad blood by carrying out knife attacks at the venue."

It said the management team "have lost the ability to keep this pub safe", adding that an immediate suspension of the premises licence in the interest of public safety and the prevention of crime and disorder.

A letter from the council’s entertainment licensing team claimed the pub’s landlords had “no control” over their clientèle, which has led to the assaults, as well as noise nuisance and antisocial behaviour.

However, dozens of people wrote letters in defence of the pub and highlighted the role it has played as a community pub,

One supporter, who had been a customer for more than 40 years, said: "I have seldom seen any trouble inside the pub. The majority of regular customers are 50+ years old and decent law-abiding citizens.

"The closing down of the pub would be a great loss to these people as it is a much loved meeting place and community hub.”

Another praised the efforts of the current team to bring the pub back to life, saying many people who lived alone or suffered from ill mental health relied on the pub for comfort and company.

Their letter added: "The way they have improved that pub, they’re not just their customers; they are friends and some even become more like a little family."

The suspension will continue until the end of the appeals period or after any appeal hearing has taken place, with the licence being revoked if no appeal is lodged within 21 days.

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