Billericay pub keeps licence after 'soirée' got 'out of hand'

Soiree party event at Beauvoir Arms, Downham

Article by BBC News: A pub which hosted a "soirée" that was attended by up to 3,000 people has been told it can keep its licence.

Essex Police said the event at the Beauvoir Arms, near Billericay, in August had breached Covid-19 rules.

Chelmsford City Council said a local resident was attacked and cannabis use was witnessed, but decided the incidents were "unlikely" to reoccur.

The pub has offered its "sincere apologies" and admitted the event "did get out of hand".

Essex Police said there were unconfirmed reports of up to 3,000 revellers at the event in Downham Road, Downham, on 2 August.

Some were still being allowed in at 22:30 BST, despite assurances the party would be shut down by 20:00, the force said.

Pictures posted on social media appeared to show a large gathering of people in a marquee with little social distancing, said the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

An apology on the pub's Facebook page said it was misled into thinking it would be "a soirée with social distancing" with no more than 200 attendees. It said:

"Unfortunately this event did get out of hand but we worked with the police and council to get everyone out safely, which was our main concern."

Managers told a licensing committee they took a booking for a small family party in an outside area but were "duped" by a promoter.

The council said its licensing aims to prevent crime and nuisance had been "seriously undermined" but decided the pub could keep its licence. The authority said:

"Several local residents had been subjected to verbal abuse - and, in one instance, physical assault - when they sought to challenge inconsiderate parking and anti-social behaviour by patrons. There had been cannabis use throughout the event. There had also been a woeful failure to implement and enforce social-distancing measures. However, the committee took the view that with the steps set out, together with the licence-holder's assurances, a recurrence of the incidents was unlikely."

Article by BBC News