A Hereford youth centre says it won't be able to remain open if a new bar is allowed next door.

The planned Novello’s Pool Bar and Sports Loft, in a newly renovated premises above The Works stationery shop in the city’s Commercial Street, is to be a “pool venue with a bar with occasional live and recorded music”, according to the licensing application by John Meredith and Danny Gagg.

Their application is due to be decided by Herefordshire Council’s licensing sub-committee next Monday (January 16).


But in a formal objection to this, Close House, a charity which supports vulnerable, disadvantaged and socially excluded young people, said: “It would be impossible for us to run a youth centre, Talk Community centre, holiday provision or drop-in space next door to such an establishment with good conscience.”

The centre’s users, who would have to walk past the bar’s entrance and smoking area to visit, are “vulnerable to underage drinking and (reputed) narcotic use, especially as many of our young people have grown up in houses with problem drink or drug use, and will have suffered many related traumas”, it said.

This would not be helped by “the local reputation and memory of the brand name ‘Novello’s’ as a notorious under-age drinking establishment”, Close House added.

“Our young people have already repeated their parents’ stories – ‘Oh, I used to drink there when I was skipping school’.”

Close House was also concerned about what it called “the reputed violence associated with their previous establishment, the Snooker Centre” and what it claimed is “the reputation of the proprietor’s links to illegal narcotics”.

West Mercia Police’s licensing officer PC Chris Lea also submitted an objection to the bar’s bid due, he said, to information police hold regarding one of the applicants, which he would share at the licensing hearing.

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