Rock pub’s licence revoked by council

The New Fleece Hotel, Warrington Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield
The New Fleece Hotel, Warrington Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield

A badly-run rock pub which subjected town centre residents to months of late-night misery has had its licence revoked by a council committee.

The licensing and regulation sub-committee at Wigan Council decided to shut down The Fleece, in Ashton, at a hearing this week.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) had recommended the premises be closed after identifying a long list of management failures, suggesting the pub’s owners had little interest in following an action plan that had been set up.

The review hearing was requested by Ashton resident Michael Moulding, who said loud music being played in the middle of the night and issues with anti-social behaviour at the Warrington Road venue had caused massive problems for its neighbours.

Mr Moulding said: “The committee has made the correct decision. I don’t think the authorities had any other choice.

“It came down to the licensing objectives and it was revoked because it was being mismanaged.

“What has happened to residents has been horrendous and is simply unacceptable. I am in no doubt our community will be forever grateful.

“I would like to pass on my thanks for the superb efforts of GMP in its efforts to protect our community of Ashton.”

Mr Moulding had originally sought to modify the terms of The Fleece’s licence, which had permitted the first-floor function room to remain open selling alcohol and showcasing live rock bands on its stage until 4am three days a week.

However, the sub-committee followed the police’s recommendation and decided there was no other alternative to imposing the strongest possible penalty and closed the pub entirely.

GMP officers and Wigan Council employees visited The Fleece in July to investigate Mr Moulding’s complaints about its management, and were appalled by the huge list of security measures and good practice which were not being carried out.

Another meeting was arranged a month later following further complaints about noise, and the police concluded after that The Fleece should have its licence revoked “due to serious concerns around the legitimacy of the persons involved in the running of this venue”.

In the report prepared for the committee, Sgt Sharon Jackson from GMP said the team at The Fleece was “lacking in professionalism and regard for the licensing objectives”.

The council’s licensing enforcement officer also concluded the licence should be suspended to allow changes in management.

A public protection officer from the Environmental Health Authority said the late-night music was unacceptable as the pub is close to houses and noise was a nuisance.