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Mystery surrounds seafront wine bar

PUBLISHED: 00:58 26 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:43 03 March 2010

MYSTERY today surrounded the future of a Felixstowe seafront wine bar after its management failed to turn up to a licensing hearing.

Councillors were told that Bond's was now under new ownership - though no letter had been received to confirm the situation.

MYSTERY today surrounded the future of a Felixstowe seafront wine bar after its management failed to turn up to a licensing hearing.

Councillors were told that Bond's was now under new ownership – though no letter had been received to confirm the situation.

Suffolk Coastal council's licensing and health committee had been expecting licensees Sarah Whalley and Miles Cowburn to attend their meeting to answer questions on the renewal of the venue's public entertainments licence.

The committee received a report criticising the management of the premises in Undercliff Road West and was keen to speak to Mrs Whalley and Mr Cowburn to hear their views, explanations and reassurances.

They had both been invited to attend the session, and also to be legally represented if they wished.

But neither turned up to the hearing and the committee was left with no option but to defer the matter until more information was available.

The committee was told that the business was under new ownership but this could not be confirmed and the identity of the new owners was not known.

The wine bar had been owned by convicted dangerous and drunken driver Peter Whalley, who is awaiting crown court sentence for mowing down teenager Vicky Kelcher while more than twice over the drink-drive limit.

However, he removed his name from the licence in the spring before his trial began, for his wife Sarah and Mr Cowburn to run the premises.

In a report to the licensing and health committee, chief executive Tom Griffin highlighted a number of problems at the premises both before and after Whalley was the licensee.

These included allegations of unlicensed entertainment, provision of entertainment on Sundays in contravention of the permitted hours, failure to employ licensed door supervisors, and blocked fire exits.

Mrs Whalley and Mr Cowburn were spoken to by council officers during the summer and improvements have since been made, the 11.30pm closing enforced and no public entertainment has been held.

Although the public entertainment licence expired on June 30, the licence remains in force until the application for a renewal is determined.

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