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New city bar hopes to restore "beating heart of the city"

A new ‘piano bar’ in the centre of Wolverhampton has been given the go-ahead to open, with the owners saying it will help restore “the beating heart of the city”.

City council licensing bosses this week gave the green light for Bogart’s in Queen Square – despite earlier concerns raised by police.

The premises site occupies the former Nationwide Building Society and has remained empty for several years.

Applicant Shaun Keasey, who is also the chairman of Pubwatch, told committee members: “The Queen Square area is the beating heart of Wolverhampton city centre and I want reinvigorate that.

“Venues come and go but we want to make this work. As an experienced trader, I want to reassure members that this is not a nightclub and it will operate as a bar.”

The licensing committee earlier heard concerns raised by West Midlands Police due to the location of the venue, which falls within one of the city’s designated ‘Cumulative Impact Zones’ (CIZ) – meaning that the surrounding area has a large concentration of licenced premises, which puts it at higher risk in terms of upholding the four required licensing objectives.

Seargeant Steph Reynolds, from West Midlands Police’s (WMP) Licensing Partnerships team, said police had concerns over the CIZ zone, opening hours, any CCTV footage, off sales, the venue’s last entry time and its requirement to inform police about forthcoming licensing events.

Mr Keasey said that entertainment at the venue would be mainly piano-led with individual performers providing background music.

“There will be occasions where more than one person will perform, ie: a small band or musical ensemble. Amplified facilities will be used for microphones and other instruments,” he said.

Licensing bosses agreed to give the go-ahead for the bar.

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