Harlesden social club loses licence amid claims it let drinkers ‘fight it out’ rather than call police

The Gwalia is in Manor Park Road (Pic: Google)

The Gwalia is in Manor Park Road (Pic: Google) - Credit: Archant

A social club in Harlesden has had its licence revoked amid claims that warring drinkers were allowed to ‘fight it out’ instead of the police being called.

Gwalia Working Men’s Club in Manor Park Road, is also claimed to have allowed violent clashes to place in the presence of children.

In a report lodged to Brent Council’s licensing committee, police accused Gwalia’s chairman Brian Simmons of ‘clear mismanagement’.

It also claims he allowed drinkers to fight as it allowed him to keep a £500 deposit fee paid to hire the venue.

Yesterday the premise’s ‘club certificate’ licence was revoked by the committee.

According to police Mr Simmons has failed to promote all four of its licensing objectives including prevention of crime and disorder or public nuisance, promoting public safety and also the protection of children from harm.

The report read that the club held regular functions for the travelling community that often resulted in fights.

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However it is claimed that the club rarely called police instead choosing to “close the bar and them fight it out” and in doing so to keep the £500.

Mr Simmons told police he had taken several bookings from members of the travelling community in July as well as other events booked by non-members.

At one private engagement party last August, which the report states Mr Simmons denied ever taking place, the police arrived to find a group of travellers outside the club, several with “blood on their faces” and one man “lying in the road unconscious with what appeared a head injury”.

They had been inside the club when two separate groups started fighting.

The bride-to-be called the police when the fight started saying people were getting injured and she feared for the children who were inside. She said her deposit had been retained even though she claimed her group had nothing to do with the fighting.

The police claim CCTV was never supplied despite numerous requests.

Last October a meeting was held between police and Gwalia committee members where it was agreed that the club would submit temporary event notices (TEN) for all non-member functions.

It was also agreed that committee members would act as door stewards for every non-member event, there would be no smoking or congregating at the front of the building and no pint glasses or bottles used at events, only toughed glass or plastic.

The report said Mr Simmons has “no intention of wanting to comply” and adds: “The club has failed to show any regards towards local residents who would have to witness the disorder outside their front doors when these unlicensed events occur.”

Asking that the club’s licence be revoked it said: “It appears only by luck that there hasn’t been a more serious incident at the venue, however if this is allowed to continue then it will only be a matter of time.”

A council spokeswoman told the Times: “Once the owner has received the council’s decision notice, they have 21 days to appeal the decision to revoke the licence.

“If they haven’t lodged an appeal within the 21 days, then they will have to cease selling alcohol and any other licensable activities.” Gwalia has been contacted for a comment.