Businesses are standing up for a Bognor Regis pub, which they say is being blamed for issues in the area.
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The Unicorn pub in the High Street has its licence up for review on February 22 after councillors called behaviour at the pub ‘a problem’.
Jason Passingham, 48, who owns Heygate Bookshop a few doors up from the pub, said he does not believe all of the anti-social behaviour concerns about the pub are accurate.
He said: “It is almost like the pub has become an easy target. It is the perception that anything that happens in the area is their fault. We have got five drinking establishments but any time something will happen it’s The Unicorn’s fault and it’s not always true.”
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Jason, who tends not to drink out often for cost reasons, said he has been in to The Unicorn before: “It’s a great pub.”
Complaints about behaviour in the area range from the smell of cannabis smoke, broken glass, to people urinating in the street.
Jason admitted there was a ‘significant problem’ with anti-social behaviour in the area but said: “It’s just the nature of this area that is poorly lit and there are lots of dark corners and dark areas attract that kind of behaviour.”
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The pub has spent money on ‘three or four’ more CCTV cameras to ‘prove it’s not them’, Jason said.
“I think at the moment it will be unfair [to take the licence away] unless all the information can be proven to be caused by The Unicorn. If they are in breach they should pay the consequences but from what I’m getting, things are being played up to say it was The Unicorn’s customers.”
Melissa Woods, 40, who owns The Worx Hair and Beauty, has lived in Bognor for her whole life.
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She said: “I think they are being targeted — I don’t think they are any worse than any other pub. People say about the noise and of course you are going to get noise — it’s a pub. I don’t know what more they can do. Anything that has been asked of them they’ve done. If I had a problem they would help me, as neighbours they are brilliant.”
Melissa said she and other business owners in the area were being adversely affected by councillors making negative comments about the pub. “What they are saying makes this area look terrible.”
The management of The Unicorn has been approached for comment.