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Grinning Rat in Ipswich has three weeks to decide on appeal after closure order

PUBLISHED: 19:00 23 May 2019

The Grinning Rat has three weeks to decide on an appeal.  Picture: SAM DAWES

The Grinning Rat has three weeks to decide on an appeal. Picture: SAM DAWES

The landlord of Ipswich's Grinning Rat has three weeks to decide whether to appeal against the closure of the pub.

The pub, in St Helen's Street, remains open during this period - despite Ipswich council's licensing sub-committee deciding on Tuesday to revoke its licence.

The committee made the decision after seeing evidence of after-hours drinking, drug-taking, fighting, and under-age teenagers visiting the pub during opening hours.

Licensee Luke Hughes had employed a manager to run the Grinning Rat while he ran other pubs and bars in the town - but had his licence for the premises revoked because he had not supervised the manager closely enough.

He said he was still thing whether to take up the option of appealing against the decision: "We are still waiting for the written notice to arrive. Once it has arrived the pub has to close in 21 days.

"It is still open at present, quite legally, and I've got time to think about what will happen."

Mr Hughes told the sub-committee that the manager was no longer at the pub and he was running it himself - and that staff were now getting training.

A spokesman for the borough council said the decision to revoke the license applied specifically to that premises. If its owners wanted to obtain a new licence for it in the future, they would have to make a new application and persuade the sub-committee that it would be run well and that there would be no incidents similar to those highlighted in this week's hearing.

It is understood that the letter formally telling Mr Hughes of the revocation of the licence was sent on Wednesday and the three weeks for him to decide whether to appeal formally starts on Thursday.

The Grinning Rat was previously known as the Olive Leaf pub - and for many years it had a good reputation as one of the town's most successful venues for live music.

Now its future is uncertain at the end of the three-week period. It is likely that any meeting of the council's licensing committee would want very strong assurances about its future management before they were prepared to grant a new licence to the premises - other pubs which have been closed have taken several years to reopen again under new management.

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