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Former town mayor can stay in charge of a Wisbech pub magistrates have ruled



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As what could be described as a pyrrhic victory former Wisbech mayor and publican Aigars Balsevics can still manage The Angel Inn in Wisbech.

But magistrates have made it clear he cannot be the licence holder for the premises, which will face a temporary closure following the court's ruling on Mr Balsevics' licensing appeal .

Mr Balsevics, a town councillor, was stripped of his licence to run the Angel Inn and banned from having any further managerial responsibility for the premises by Fenland District Council's licensing committee in March this year.

Aigars Balsevics appealed a decision to ban him from running the Angel Inn following allegations of Covid breaches.
Aigars Balsevics appealed a decision to ban him from running the Angel Inn following allegations of Covid breaches.

The move came after a full day's hearing of the panel into alleged breaches of Covid-19 regulations at the Alexandra Road pub on Christmas Eve.

But Mr Balsevics, and the pub's landlords Elgood's Brewery, appealed the panel's decision and court hearings were held in September and earlier this month, during which magistrates were shown CCTV footage of the night in question.

In the footage Mr Balsevics was apparently seen hugging a customer at the end of the evening and he was also seen not to wear a face covering or to follow hand hygiene procedures - all at a time when there were strict rules in place because of the pandemic.

Aigars Balsevics was the first Eastern European to be Mayor of Wisbech.
Aigars Balsevics was the first Eastern European to be Mayor of Wisbech.

Allegations also included staff and customers failing to wear face coverings, lack of hand washing, breaches of social distance rules with customers and staff interacting including hugging, kissing and play wrestling.

After a full day's hearing into Mr Balsevics appeal on October 5 magistrates at Peterborough adjourned the case and said they would spend time reviewing the evidence before deciding a verdict.

That verdict was sent to Fenland's licensing team this week and magistrates have upheld the licensing panel's decision that Mr Balsevics should be removed as the Designated Premises Supervisor for the Angel Inn.

However, they reduced the suspension of the premises licence from three months to 28 days.

And crucially they decided Mr Balsevics, who runs other pubs in the town, could remain in a managerial and/or supervisory capacity at the Angel.

However, they made it clear that there should be a distinct, trained and competent Designated Premises Supervisor appointed, and that Mr Balsevics should not use the court's decision to allow him to remain at the pub as a way to circumnavigate that requirement.

As a result of the court's decision the pub's licence has been suspended from October 20 to November 16 - meaning it will be able to reopen on November 17.



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