A Roath bar with the dubious honour of being “second in the glassing league” has seen its bid to extend its opening hours rejected by councillors.
Varsity – on the corner of Crwys Road and Richmond Road in Roath, Cardiff – had sought to extend its opening hours by an hour nightly until midnight.
A proposal to open daily at 8am to serve breakfasts and refreshments – two hours earlier than previously – was accepted by the committee.
The bar is currently licensed to sell alcohol and play music until 11pm and has to close by 11.30pm.
Representatives for the owners – The Barracuda Group – said that they were looking to retain existing customers because of demand.
But in a meeting of Cardiff Council’s licensing sub-committee, South Wales Police raised objections on the grounds of high amounts of crime and disorder and public nuisance, citing three incidents of “glassing” since the venue was taken over.
Cardiff Police Licensing Officer Tony Bowley said: “In the ‘glassing’ league table in Cardiff, Varsity falls second.
“The premises in first is a large city centre venue and they have had four, and Varsity have had three.”
Cathays neighbourhood inspector Mark Williams added that the Cathays policing area had an estimated 40,000 students who were “vulnerable” as targets for crime.
He said: “There were 240 reported crimes last year in the City Road area, and 42 of robberies in Cathays.
“The profile of a person that tends to be a victim of a robbery tends to be a make in his 20s who is inebriated in some way.
“If the application was accepted, it would mean that I would have to alter patrol strategies to provide police visibility in this area and residents of Cathays would be denied the presence that they would get if police where called to attend outside Varsity.”
The owners of Varsity said that the emphasis had been on retention of customers, rather than attracting new people to the area.
“Part of why we want to make this application is to keep these customers that we have,” area manager Steve Dew said.
“By the police’s own admission, it is a generally well-run premises.”
Mr Dew said that there had only been ten reported incidents in 26 months of the company opening at the site and that the incidents had been dealt with quickly by management and staff.
The committee – chaired by Coun Robert Smith – rejected the application because of evidence of crime and disorder in the area.
Coun Smith said: “In view of the evidence in relation to more crime and disorder in the area, the committee has determined to refuse the extension of the hours in the evening.
“However, we will allow the extension of the hours in the morning.”
Do you live in the area? What do you think about the decision? Let us know in the comments below