Pub in Milton Keynes gets second chance to prove that its wooden extension is fire safe

A pub has been given one week to prove that its unauthorised wooden restaurant extension is safe for the public to use.

A representative of the Red House, in Wolverton Road, Newport Pagnell, told a licensing sub-committee meeting that he did not know that the pub needed to get approval for the wooden extension.

The Red House, Newport Pagnell

The Red House, Newport Pagnell

Brian Kelly, who applied to vary the licence to include the new restaurant area, told the panel of three Milton Keynes Borough councillors that he could prove that the area has been inspected for fire and electrical safety. But he did not have anything to hand over to the councillors at the meeting on Monday to prove his point.

The licensing application from King Arthur Inns, of George Farm, Little Brickhill was objected to by Newport Pagnell Town Council, which was represented by Cllr Phil Winsor.

Cllr Winsor, who chairs the town planning and management committee, said the town council has no problem with the pub’s mode of operation but was concerned about its “history of non-compliance with legislation.”

He told the committee that this extended to unauthorised advertising on the street, and matters of planning permission. He wondered how a company with seven pubs, including the Three Trees, in Buckingham Road, Bletchley, could make novice errors.

“Our concern is in respect of public safety,” he said. “We have a problem with the public safety element because families use this area.

“You have been pushing the boundaries with retrospective applications. When are you going to get ahead of the curve and comply with the legislation? I can’t recall even seeing a fire extinguisher.

“Ten out of ten for your business model. People love going there for its value for money but when are you going to sit down and sort this out?

“You should not be using this area until you get it signed off.”

In reply, Mr Kelly said: “I recognise that I have to make this right and this should be a salutary experience. We won’t allow ourselves to be put in this situation again. We will work with building regulations and we now have a planning consultant.

“I do not in any way underestimate public safety and we will deal with it. We are building a community asset and we do not want to put people’s lives at risk. We will comply.”

Cllr Mick Legg (Lab, Bletchley West) was chairing the sub-committee and said: “We have some concern around public safety issues. You have no certificate with you to verify fire safety.

“I do not think we are in a position to grant the licence, so we have decided to adjourn for you to be able to provide the evidence on wiring and fire safety, and for you to get the ball rolling on building control.”

The meeting was adjourned, to be reconvened next Monday, August 5. Until then, Mr Kelly was told that the pub would be technically in breach of its licence if it continued to use the unauthorised area until permission is granted.

Mr Kelly was challenged by Cllr Winsor to tell the committee that the area would not be used but he said it was not his decision to close the area off but that he would take it back to his boss.