'Croydon's most violent pub' set to re-open
A PUB once branded Croydon's most violent by police is set to reopen despite strong objections.
Officers said The Derby, in Pitlake, West Croydon, had a "long and well documented history of violent incidents of the most serious nature", even when it closed and became an Indian restaurant.
And licensing officers described the application by former wine bar manager Garfield Green as "very poor" - urging the council to turn down his bid to reopen the venue.
But at a licensing sub-committee this week councillors approved the proposal subject to a number of conditions.
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Speaking outside the Town Hall on Tuesday, Mr Green said: "I don't believe it. This is a great feeling."
The Derby has been closed since 2009 after police asked for a review of its licence following several violent incidents.
A customer was stabbed five times in the chest and twice in the stomach during a disturbance on the pub's patio on June 6, 2008.
Three months later two of the venue's door staff were attacked, one suffering serious facial injuries. The Derby reopened as a restaurant but its former clientele, and the problems, returned, forcing the new owner to walk away.
Police were adamant the same issues would resurface if the pub was allowed to reopen.
"I have no doubt that incidents of serious violence would take place on a regular basis," said licensing officer PC Dan Rhodes.
He added: "This is a very poor application. Mr Green has not contacted the police during the 28 day consultation period to discuss the application.
"He has not indicated what his music policy would be, what type of venue he intends to operate, nor has he indicated what age of customer he is trying to attract."
Mr Green, former manager of Hackers wine bar, in London Road, Norbury, said he wanted to turn The Derby into a "friendly, family venue".
He said: "I'm absolutely aware of the problems but I understand they were related to the people who ran the pub at the time."
Committee member Councillor Carole Bonner asked Mr Green what he would do to prevent the former troublemakers from returning. He replied: "The police are saying the same people will come back, but I don't understand. You don't know who will cause trouble until they come to the pub."
PC Rhodes said: "It's clear from what Mr Green said that he has no knowledge of the area or the venue. By the time he learns who these people are it would be too late."
Mr Green's application proposed serving alcohol between 11am and 12pm on Monday to Thursday and Sunday, with the licence extended until 1am on Friday and Saturday.
He also applied to have live music on Friday and recorded tracks as late as 1am on Saturday.
PC Rhodes pointed out: "The hours he has applied for do not equate to a family pub. He clearly wants this to be a late-night venue."
Despite his objections, PC Rhodes said the application could be viable if the plan was altered to meet 11 conditions.
These included installing CCTV cameras recording 24 hours a day, ensuring the licence holder is present at all times and that the pub is a member of the Safer Croydon Radio system.
Mr Green agreed to all the conditions and, as a result, the application was approved.