This week’s meeting of North Ayrshire Licensing Board (January 20) will receive a new application for a Transfer of Licence in relation to the former Britannia Bar in Ardrossan’s Princes Street.
Last November the3towns revealed the Licensing Board had refused a similar application after Police Scotland objected on the grounds that one of the people involved had previously served a lengthy prison sentence for drug-related crimes.
Meeting on November 19, the Board considered an application for a Transfer of Premises Licence in the name of Ardrossan woman Marian Small. However, Ms Small was not in attendance and the application was supported by Mr Gary McKenna.
Previously, at the September 30 meeting of the Licensing Board, Mr McKenna had been granted a Variation of Premises Licence in relation to the bar at 69/71 Princes Street, Ardrossan. The variation to the licence principally involved allowing bar meals to be sold, changes to the previously-agreed layout of the premises and a change of name to ‘Latrobes’. The Britannia, which had also traded as Watt’s Bar and the Lord Carson, has lain empty for a number of years. Works to renovate the property began a few of months ago.
A report from legal officers to the Licensing Board in September explained that a Premises Licence had been granted to Tyne & Tay Taverns Ltd in January 2009, and that this was subsequently transferred to Abacus Estates Ltd in October 2009.
The officers’ report in September also stated, “This Variation application is not made by the Premises Licence Holder [Abacus] but by Gary McKenna who has the authority of the Premises Licence Holder to do so.” It was then recorded that, as of September 12 2013, “Mr McKenna was not currently the tenant of the Premises, but it was expected that a lease would be signed in a few days. Once a lease is in place, Mr McKenna will seek: (a) a Transfer of the Licence from Abacus to him, and (b) a further Variation, so as to nominate a Premises Manager.”
However, when Mr McKenna returned to the Licensing Board in November, he was made aware that Police Scotland had submitted a report raising concerns over his suitability to be involved in the running of licensed premises.
The Police report revealed that in April 2005 Gary McKenna had been sentenced to 13 years and 9 months in prison after being convicted at Guernsey Royal Court of importing onto the island £200,000 worth of the Class A drug Ecstasy. An accomplice, Christopher Taylor, was sentenced to 9 years and 6 months for acting as a ‘minder’ for McKenna. Both men were convicted of possession with intent to supply the drug.
After receiving the Police report, councillors sitting on the Licensing Board agreed to refuse the application for a Transfer of Premises Licence to Marian Small.
However, the new application to be heard this week seeks that the licence be transferred directly to Gary McKenna. Mr Mckenna is originally from Teeside in the north of England.
Also on the agenda for the meeting of the Licensing Board is an application for a Provisional Premises Licence in the name of Jagir Singh in relation to the Metro nightclub in Hamilton Street, Saltcoats.
In addition, the Board will consider an application to transfer the licence of the Merrick Hotel in Seamill. Documents seek the transfer of the licence from Mr Richard Waugh to Mr David McCulloch. However, the Board’s legal officer has raised questions over whether the hotel still has a valid licence, given that Mr Waugh may have ceased trading at the premises some time ago.
Update - January 20:
North Ayrshire Licensing Board decided to refuse the application from Mr McKenna in relation to the Britannia Bar. The application relating to the Metro was continued until the next meeting on March 3, while the licence for the Merrick Hotel was granted.