A SKIPTON micropub has fully reopened after magistrates ruled its landlady had been treated unfairly.

The court also ordered Craven District Council to pay Wendy Greaves’ legal fees of £19,182 and said its treatment of her could be seen as “sexist and discriminatory”.

After the court criticism, the council’s licensing committee reconsidered its earlier decision and granted her a full licence allowing the Ref and Whistle, on Court Lane, to open.

The micropub was closed when the previous licensee, Mrs Greaves’ husband, was found to have breached Covid regulations and some locals complained of anti-social behaviour.

In August Mrs Greaves obtained a personal licence but the council refused to grant her a premises licence because it believed she would not act independently of her husband, who now works as a plumber.

Magistrates ruled that the council’s view and its failure to provide an equality assessment could be construed as sexist and discriminatory.

The court also said that complaints from owners of five nearby properties were treated anonymously and concerns therefore could not be addressed by Mrs Greaves. It also said a notice in the micropub window and a post on Facebook was not evidence of “intimidation” warranting anonymity.

After its original decision, and pending Mrs Greaves’ appeal hearing, the council granted a temporary two day per week licence to the Ref and Whistle.

During this time three “secret shopper” visits were made by Darrell Butterworth, a retired police inspector who spent eight years in charge of licensing for Greater Manchester Police. He said the noise levels outside the bar were “one of the lowest I had registered in all the investigations I have carried out”.

“Although the bar was the nearest licensed premises to the residents of Providence Quarter, its size, mature customer base and hours of operation applied for led me to conclude that other licensed premises in the area had a greater potential to create a nuisance,” said Mr Butterworth. “The much larger Wetherspoons and Devonshire Vaults sports bar had a much younger and boisterous clientele. The Albion, also nearby, advertised live entertainment and a karaoke night was taking place at the Two Doors Inn”.

Mr Butterworth made recommendations to reduce the risk of causing nuisance to neighbours.

“I am sorry it has cost taxpayers so much to sort out my licence but I will now run the micropub in an orderly fashion in line with the terms of the licence,” said Mrs Greaves.