Hatfield bar/restaurant set to lose licence after concerns over ‘serious crime and disorder’

PUBLISHED: 08:55 12 January 2019

Welwyn Hatfield Council has decided to revoke the premises licence of Incognito in The Arcade, Hatfield. 
Picture: DANNY LOO

Welwyn Hatfield Council has decided to revoke the premises licence of Incognito in The Arcade, Hatfield. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

A bar/restaurant in Hatfield has 21 days to appeal a decision by the council to revoke its licence following concerns over “serious crime and disorder”.

Welwyn Hatfield Council reviewed the licence of Incognito African Lounge, based in The Arcade, following a request by Herts Police.

Herts Police said they had “serious concerns over the running of the premises due to the failure by Mr [Emeka] Orji, the premises licence holder and designated premises supervisor, to control activities which are taking place or involving the premises”.

The council states that no other representations, for or against, were received in connection with the review, which was carried out by the licensing sub-committee on Wednesday.

The committee has the power to modify the conditions of a licence, exclude licensable activities, remove the premises supervisor, suspend the licence for up to three months or even revoke the licence.

In this case, a decision was made to revoke Incognito’s licence.

A council spokeswoman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “The committee has considered this matter carefully, as revoking a licence is always a last resort.

“We accepted the evidence from the police licensing officer at Hertfordshire Constabulary.

“Those managing Incognito breached licensing conditions repeatedly and caused the premises to be associated with serious crime and disorder.

“Despite trying to work with Incognito, they unfortunately didn’t co-operate properly with us, the fire service or the police.

“This has led to grave concerns about how the business is run to the point where we feel that no conditions would sufficiently allay our concerns at this time.”

Incognito was granted a licence on November 17 in 2015, and since then it has twice been the subject of police appeals.

In October last year, there was a fight outside Incognito in which a man was assaulted with a broken bottle.

Back in April 2017, a man was discovered bloodied and lying in an alleyway.

It is believed that the victim, a man in his 40s, was assaulted in Queensway following a fight inside Incognito.

The licence revocation will not happen immediately as the council will first issue a Notice of Determination, and then Incognito has 21 days to appeal the decision.

If Incognito does appeal, this will then be looked at by a magistrates’ court.

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