Why controversial Woolton Village bar is allowed to stay open

A south Liverpool bar is continuing to serve customers despite being stripped of its licence over issues around crime and serious violence.

The Loft, based in Woolton Village, has had its terms to operate revoked by Liverpool Council after Merseyside Police raised serious concerns about a string of violent incidents in and around the premises over the last few years. It has been allowed to carry on serving as it has launched a formal appeal with magistrates to have the decision by the city’s licensing sub-committee thrown out.

What does this mean for the business and customers? As it stands, nothing has changed.

As the bar has launched its appeal, it can continue to open as normal until a decision is reached. Magistrates will consider the matter as if it was a new case and the original hearing never took place.

The venue launched a defiant statement setting out its position earlier this week. The owners said, “On behalf of all of the team at The Loft, we wish to reassure everyone in the local community that, including valued clients and nearby neighbours, that we remain committed to ensuring that everyone who visits the venue does so in safety and comfort, and that all of our hardworking staff are there to provide an atmosphere which promotes having a day or evening out where they can enjoy themselves in a secure environment.”

The appeal has taken place as the Loft submitted details within 21 days of the decision last month. It takes the form of a complaint, spelling out why the proprietors believe the judgement of the council committee is incorrect.

This does not mean the decision will be overturned. Magistrates could still uphold the original view of the council, meaning the licence will be revoked.

In this case, the Loft could face paying costs to both the council and forking out for itself. It is also a one and done option, once the Magistrates make their decision, it is final.

The Loft statement said the venue continues to employ more than a dozen staff and its management team look forward to progressing with the business. Officials said they have implemented changes suggested by Merseyside Police, in lieu of closure, and the findings of a report by Clubsafe.

It said, “Like all of the nightime sectors in the city region, we do not operate in a vacuum and we must always be aware of anti- social behaviours which remain a concern for all bars and restaurants. It is the job of the venue going forward to continue to be mindful of the issues at hand, and to be proactive in the measures taken to promote security, safety and respect.”

They added, “The team look forward to a continued, open, two-way discourse to continue to ensure that The Loft sets the standard in being a safe haven not just for clients, but also within the community it operates within.”

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