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MAJOR WORRIES: Glasshouse reopening bid on hold

MAJOR WORRIES: Glasshouse reopening bid on hold

The Glasshouse bar in Dean Street, Newcastle city centre, Image: NCJ Media

A bid to reopen a troubled Newcastle bar that was shut down due to Covid fears has been put on hold until 2022, amid major worries from police and council chiefs.

City centre venue Glass House was forced to close last year after Newcastle City Council officials said they were “not convinced” it was Covid-secure.

The Dean Street bar had previously been stripped of its licence in May 2020 due to “ineffective” management and concerns over children’s safety, a decision which its management was appealing before then being shut down last October.

New efforts were launched this summer to reopen the site, in the hope of turning it into a steakhouse that it was promised would be a “predominantly food-led venue” rather than another drinking spot.

A verdict on whether a new licence would be granted for the revamped ‘Glasshouse Steakhouse’ was due next week, but a council hearing to determine its future has now been pushed back to January 11 next year.

A spokesperson for the applicant said that they had asked for the hearing to be adjourned in order to resolve issues relating to planning and listed building requirements.

However, there are doubts over its prospects of reopening – with city authorities known to have major reservations about the plans.

Northumbria Police, the city council’s licensing boss, and local councillors are among those who have lodged objections against the steakhouse plans, which it is claimed would in fact resemble another bar in reality.

Council licensing manager Jonathan Bryce warned that the scheme did not “satisfactorily reflect” the style of a restaurant and was “wholly contradictory” to council policy.

He also expressed fears over the involvement of Gwan Mohammad, who is the sole director of applicant Glasshouse Steakhouse Ltd. Mr Mohammad previously ran the Glass House bar and admitted at a council hearing in May 2020 that he had “not really” read the strict licence conditions designed to control the bar’s activities.

In an objection notice lodged with the council, Chief Inspector Dan Whyte agreed that the new proposals “do not adequately meet the criteria for restaurant operations” and would “allow the opportunity for vertical drinking to take place in an area already at saturation”.

Monument ward councillor Jane Byrne added that she was concerned that reviving the premises would see it operate as a bar with some food available rather than a proper steakhouse and that its previous iteration had “caused considerable disturbance and distress to local residents”.

The venue’s licensing application had promised that all of its patrons would be seated and that a “substantial food offering will be available at all times”.

 

Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter


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