ONE of Weymouth's busiest live music pubs, the Duke of Cornwall, may be forced to close due to complaints made to Dorset Council by an anonymous residents' group.

The pub, which is on St Edmund Street near the town bridge, is to have its licence reviewed at the request of a representative of 'Respect Weymouth'.

The representative has submitted a lengthy complaint to the council claiming that residents in the nearby area are being kept awake by noise from the venue, among a raft of other concerns. The 15 page document was submitted anonymously.

The council will now consider which options to take, if any - which could result in live music being banned at the Duke of Cornwall, or the license being revoked entirely. 

Other options could include a temporary licence suspension or reduced opening hours.

"Attack on live music"

Duke of Cornwall landlord Martin Rollings, who took over the premises a year ago with partner Tina, says Respect Weymouth's complaint is "vexatious" and believes the he is being unfairly targeted by the group's "crusade" to shut down pubs and bars in the area.

He is worried that if his licence is revoked it could set a precedent for other music and nightlife venues in the town.

Dorset Echo: Tina and Martin have been running the Duke of Cornwall for a year - but their license is now at riskTina and Martin have been running the Duke of Cornwall for a year - but their license is now at risk

'Extremely stressful'

"I see this as an attack on Weymouth's live music scene," said Mr Rollings, a guitarist who is known locally by his stage name, Martin Freed.

"To say I'm feeling anxious about all this is an understatement", he added. "The last year has been a rough ride due to Covid - it's hard enough as it is starting a hospitality business in the middle of a pandemic, so to have this happen is extremely stressful.

"If Respect Weymouth succeeds, the pub will close, we'll be on the dole and Weymouth will lose a live music venue, which also affects the livelihoods of local musicians. It would be a huge blow."

Dorset Echo: Live music at the Duke of CornwallLive music at the Duke of Cornwall

Dorset Council's Licensing team has served a notice on the pub giving 28 days for anyone to respond. Following this the licensing sub-committee will read all evidence submitted and will make their decision on the outcome.

The council insists it does not currently have a view on whether it supports the complaint.

"I hope we will get a fair hearing but my gut feeling is that the council is on Respect Weymouth's side," pub landlord Martin Rollings added. "This all feels very heavy-handed.

"We were warned before we took on the pub that an individual was on a crusade against live music in the local area and had made a series of complaints to the previous landlords - I think it is vexatious and amounts to bullying.

"It is absurd that one person can wield such clout against a small independent business with seemingly free representation and backing from the council. If he has a valid point then he shouldn't have a problem putting his name to it."

  • Respect Weymouth's chairman has been contacted for comment.

Dorset Echo: The pub hosts live bands and jam sessions throughout the weekThe pub hosts live bands and jam sessions throughout the week

Dorset Council statement

A Dorset Council spokesman said: "The Licensing Team has received an application for review of the premises licence for the Duke of Cornwall from a local residents group. The application is related to the licensing objectives of Prevention of Public Nuisance and the Protection of Children from Harm.

"There is no view from the Licensing Enforcement Team at this moment in time. The Licensing Enforcement Team may wish to submit a representation in support of the review application, as may any of the other responsible authorities."

The Echo also asked Dorset Council to clarify the rules regarding anonymous complaints against licenses premises - at the time of publishing this had not been addressed.

Possible outcomes

Dorset Council's Licensing Sub-Committee has set out the following options:

  •  modify the conditions of the premises licence (which includes adding new conditions or any alteration or omission of an existing condition), for example, by reducing the hours of opening or by requiring door supervisors at particular times;
  •  exclude a licensable activity from the scope of the licence, for example, to exclude the performance of live music or playing of recorded music (where it is not within the incidental live and recorded music exemption);
  •  remove the designated premises supervisor, for example, because they consider that the problems are the result of poor management;
  •  suspend the licence for a period not exceeding three months;
  •  revoke the licence

How to comment

Anyone wishing to submit a representation to Dorset Council's Licensing department can do so by emailing