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New court appearance for club owner

PUBLISHED: 23:00 21 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:42 03 March 2010

CONVICTED dangerous and drunken driver Peter Whalley has been fined for opening his seafront wine bar later than its permitted hours, it has been revealed.

CONVICTED dangerous and drunken driver Peter Whalley has been fined for opening his seafront wine bar later than its permitted hours, it has been revealed.

Whalley – who is awaiting crown court sentence for mowing down teenager Vicki Kelcher while more than twice over the drink-drive limit – appeared before magistrates accused of breaching planning regulations.

He pleaded guilty to three offences of operating Bond's Wine Bar in Undercliff Road West, Felixstowe, in contravention of planning consent and was fined a total of £300 plus £100 costs.

The case was brought because the wine bar has permission to open until 11.30pm but was staying open later.

Police said Whalley "totally ignored" repeated official notices to comply with regulations.

Details are revealed in a report to Suffolk Coastal councillors, who are being asked to consider renewing the public entertainment licence for the premises.

The application has been made by Whalley's wife Sarah, and venue manager Miles Cowburn, former manager of the Spa Pavilion.

Whalley was joint licensee of the premises but removed his name from the licence before his recent crown court trial, though police and council officials understand that he still owns the wine bar.

In a report to the licensing and health committee, chief executive Tom Griffin said there have been 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, and failure to employ licensed door supervisors.

Between December 2001, and May 2002, management of the premises was said to be deteriorating, and there were occasions when neither licensee was present and fire exits were obstructed, giving cause for concern for public safety.

Since the licence transfer, an inspection found fire doors were again blocked, the log book could not be found or the fire alarm system test key.

Mrs Whalley and Mr Cowburn were spoken to by council officers and improvements have since been made and the 11.30pm closing enforced.

Police have expressed concerns about the management of the premises and say there has been "very little change" since the new management took over.

Mr Griffin said: "During the period when the licence was held by Mr and Mrs Whalley, there were a number of occasions when they have been found to be less than diligent in complying with the conditions."

Neither Mrs Whalley or Mr Cowburn have commented on the council report.

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