HQ Sports Bar’s plans for outdoor screening of England’s World Cup games are rejected

HQ Sports Bar
HQ Sports Bar

A Dunstable businessman has had his plans to screen England’s remaining World Cup games in Grove Park kicked into touch.

Jamie Head, the owner of HQ Sports Bar, wanted to show the World Cup Quarter final against Sweden and subsequent England games in fenced off area outside his premises in the Town Centre.

But Bedfordshire Police and the local authority’s environmental health officer objected the proposals.

“It is really disappointing,” said Mr Head, speaking after the meeting of Central Bedfordshire Council’s licensing sub-committee.

“We’ll take it on the chin and move on with what we are doing at the bar and will go in Saturday.

“Yes, massively disappointed. It would have been really good for everyone to be involved, not just us, but the whole town to get together to celebrate it.”

The company wanted to have a large screen in Grove Park on three separate occasions depending on how far Gareth Southgate’s team progressed in the competition.

Up to 200 people have been turned away from the Sports Bar by the firm during recent games as interest in the tournament has increased.

An officer from Bedfordshire Police told the sub-committee: “We consider it a very risky event by its very nature.

“There is no documentation what so ever, where people will be standing or sitting in the park.

“This was not mentioned during a meeting with HQ Sports Bar before the World Cup.

“There will be a lot of nuisance, it will be very loud with crowd noise and swearing.”

Conservative Ampthill councillor Paul Duckett said: “We do not want HQ Sports Bar known for a disastrous event and mass brawls.

“We need to do more than two days preparation. I really think this weekend is too soon.

“There would be no police on the ground. They need to be booked in and you pay for them.

“If things go wrong, fists start flying and there is a fight in Grove Park.

“It will be on your licence if you cause a massive public disorder in the middle of Dunstable.”

Jamie Head told the sub-committee everything was ready to stage the event, such as fencing, the screen, staffing, the power supply and the paperwork.

“I understand the risk we would be taking if it did go wrong,” he said.

“But it is not an area that we are not used to.”

He also said they have screened other events, including boxing in the Sports Bar.

“This is not a big money spinner for us,” he explained.

“There is too much extra cost in it.

“We would be bringing something to Dunstable, which has never been brought to the town before.”

Conservative Leighton Buzzard South councillor David Bowater, who chairs the sub-committee, said: “We feel we cannot grant any of the licences requested.

“There has not been sufficient time given to properly hold these events.

“The processes have not been followed according to management procedures, with not enough planning to suit the applications.

“The objections of the police are valid and can not be disregarded.”