Stourbridge bar WILL reopen after fatal stabbing

Stourbridge nightspot, Chicago’s, has been given permission to re-open in two weeks time, subject to compliance with a number of safety conditions.

The Ryemarket bar, where 24-year-old footballer Ryan lost his life in the early hours of Sunday August 6, was the subject of a licensing review at Dudley Council House this morning, having had its licence temporarily suspended in the wake of the shocking incident.

But council licensing chiefs have now given approval for the busy boozer to re-open once the venue is compliant with a stringent set of 12 conditions – aimed at keeping revellers safe and preventing a further tragedy or serious incident happening again.

James Rankin, representing Deltic which owns Chicago’s, said he was "sorry" about what had happened but calls from Ryan's aunt Sue Passey for the venue to stay shut until at least after his funeral were ignored.

Seated next to Ryan's devasted dad Adrian, she said the funeral could not be held until after a second autopsy had been carried out and the service would likely not take place until late September - adding: "It's not in our hands."

And she urged the pub company to "morally do the right thing" over making a commercial decision.

Mr Rankin, however, said the venue had staff on the payroll and the closure could not be open ended. He said:

"Tthe venue has co-operated from the moment this incident happened.

"What happened that night could have happened anywhere – it could have been a station car park, a kebab takeaway, it could have been a taxi rank.

"With the benefit of hindsight, the procedures we had in place that night were inappropriate [but] we’d never had anything like this happen before."

Ms Passey branded the venue "completely irresponsible" and "negligent in its responsibilities at not only keeping Ryan safe but keeping the public safe" and she added: "Even searching one in six would have been a huge deterrent to anyone taking anything in that building. I don’t believe any searches were taking place."

Mr Streeten, for the police, told the hearing that, as part of the licensing conditions, in future every other customer who enters the venue would be searched, with the use of metal detection wands.

Other conditions to be imposed on the bar include - alarming all fire escapes, not permitting customers to re-enter the venue unless they pay again and comply with search procedures, applying a one in one out policy when the bar reaches capacity, CCTV cameras to be upped from 16 to 32 and positioned to the satisfaction of police, a formal search area to be created in the premises and extra door staff on duty when the bar is at capacity.

At least one female member of door staff should also be on duty (and where not possible – women entering the venue would be searched with wands), all staff must also complete basic first aid training and first aid kits are to be held on the premises, no alcoholic drinks are to be sold in glass bottles (except to customers attending pre-booked events) and management must carry out random CCTV reviews once every three months and if staff are seen to be failing to comply with conditions police must be notified.

Ms Passey also called for the bar's 650-capacity to be reduced and urged that all flooring in the venue be completely taken up, removed and destroyed and she added: "It would be macabre to open those doors and let people party on that floor where Ryan lost his life."

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