A COMMUNITY leader says he still has concerns about Stockton’s PoundPub, despite police saying there has been little trouble at the controversial venue.

The PoundPub, just off Stockton’s High Street, was criticised when it opened almost exactly three months ago for selling pints of beer for £1.50 and halves for £1.

Leading councillors at Stockton Borough Council, which is investing £20m into refurbishing the High Street, were concerned it could lead to anti-social behaviour.

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However a spokesman for Cleveland Police said that there has not been significant problems caused by the pub, which used to be the middle-market Georgia Browns.

So far, according to police statistics, there has been a fight involving two men who were arrested for being drunk and disorderly, two women fighting but with no arrest, a bag stolen, a man ejected by staff and one man and woman arguing, again with no arrest.

The police spokeswoman said: “Our officer (with responsibility for town centre order) has said that because it closes at 10pm it’s not really causing us an issue.”

Manager of the PoundPub, Stephen Palin, who is also a national co-ordinator for the PubWatch scheme, said: “We had lots and lots of publicity when we opened, which was quite bad publicity, but I really don’t think becoming a PoundPub has changed anything. Yes, there’s been considerably more trade since we were Georgia Browns, but there’s been no real increase in problems. Our clientele are really the same as before.”

However, Cllr Bob Cook, Labour leader of Stockton Borough Council, said the establishment still presented an image problem for the town.

He said: “We remain concerned about the potential long-term impact of this kind of business model and have expressed our concerns about this pub’s branding and entire concept.

“Stockton town centre is undergoing a major regeneration project and we want it to be an inclusive place for everybody to enjoy.

“We know our borough has higher than average rates of hospital stays for alcohol-related harm and clearly, the sale of cheap alcohol in any establishment, does nothing to help us tackle these issues.”