Pub blasted for late night noise

Exterior of The New Fleece Hotel, Warrington Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield
Exterior of The New Fleece Hotel, Warrington Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield

An under-fire pub is having its licence reviewed following complaints by a community activist and police criticism of its management.

Wigan Council has launched a consultation on rock pub The Fleece Hotel in Ashton after local campaigner Michael Moulding said it was causing misery for its neighbours.

I’m asking for all aspects of the licence to be reviewed. The police have made recommendations in the action plan and it’s clear to me at this stage the owners are deviating from that

Michael Moulding

Mr Moulding slammed Wigan Council’s decision last year to allow the venue to be open until 4am, saying residents have had to put up with loud music and drinking until the early hours.

A visit to The Fleece by a Wigan Council officer and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) uncovered a host of serious problems, with the venue being given a written warning and put on a three-month action plan to improve the way it is being run.

Mr Moulding says he decided to call for the consultation so residents living nearby will get to have their say and claims there have already been fresh issues since the official visit.

He stressed he does not want the venue to be shut but says there do need to be changes in the way it is run.

He said: “I’m asking for all aspects of the licence to be reviewed. The police have made recommendations in the action plan and it’s clear to me at this stage the owners are deviating from that.

“I want the premises to be managed in such a way that it’s conducive to the local community and the review will give people the opportunity to have their say. One clear example that needs looking at is the 4am licence, which is completely inappropriate.

“The other issue is the level of noise coming from the premises. This is not about revoking the premises’ licence, it’s about ensuring it is up to standard.

“They can’t carry on perpetrating noise at a level which has a serious impact on the local community, they are going to have to take some positive steps to sort that out.”

A visit to The Fleece last month by council and police officers found a long list of shortcomings, including inadequate recording of incidents at the pub such as people being refused service for being underage or ejected from the building due to poor behaviour.

The whole pub also had just two working CCTV cameras, which Wigan Council described in its feedback as “totally inappropriate for the size and layout of the premises”, and staff had not received training on drugs and refusing drinks to those who should not receive them.

The inspection also found noise was not monitored, there were no signs asking people to leave quietly and the whole pub was in a poor state, being left extremely untidy with dirty glasses and rubbish on view.

Residents met last year to discuss problems with The Fleece and supported trying to get an 11pm music curfew and a 1am drinks licence for the pub.

However, the pub says it has already tackled many of the problems identified by the council and police and residents should experience few issues in future.

Josh Smith, one of The Fleece’s two managers, said: “We’re sticking to the action plan and everything has been fine since. We’ve been putting everything in place, we’ve just got to do a sound check.

“We’re confident the problems will be all sorted.”

Wigan Council confirmed once the full application has been sent in the review process will start.

Julie Middlehurst, group manager for regulatory services at Wigan Council, said: “Following receipt of a review application for a premises licence with regards The Fleece pub, there will follow a 28-day consultation period.

“During this period, representations can be made by any of the responsible authorities including police, trading standards and environmental health.”