'Mob mentality' fears seal fate of away fans bar plan

The home fans make good use of the free Santa hats provided before the Premier League match at the K

Leicester City fans could be the first to sample a car park bar for travelling fans near Carrow Road - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Fears that an open-air bar for away fans ahead of Norwich City games could encourage "mob mentality" have seen the proposal refused by councillors.

Dean Bath, of Dudley's Bars, had applied to Norwich City Council to make use of part of the Lower Clarence Road car park to place a bar to greet travelling fans on matchdays.

The vision would have seen a section of the car park cordoned off and turned into a makeshift fan park where supporters of visiting teams could have a drink as soon as they step off their coaches.

Lower Clarence Road car park could become an away fans bar

Part of the car park on Lower Clarence Road could be used as a bar for away fans - Credit: Google

Mr Bath told a licensing sub-committee the plan would fill a void in the city as the vast majority of pubs catered to Canaries fans and that it would "welcome people to the city".

However, the proposals were met with severe concerns from Norfolk Constabulary over the potential for creating disorder and tension on matchdays.

Michelle Bartram, the constabulary's licensing officer, said that currently away fans would disperse as they arrive in the city and go about their pre-match rituals in smaller groups - and that this plan ran the risk of creating difficult situations for officers.

She said: "This would encourage fans to congregate and that creates a risk of mob mentality."

She added that the force feared the plan could turn the car park into a "flashpoint" for confrontation between opposing sets of supporters, particularly given it is also used for home fans to park on matchdays.

When asked whether the proposal would result in a rethink to how the match was policed, she said that it would have to.

Most Read

The sub-committee voted to refuse Mr Bath a temporary events notice to place the bar for Saturday's visit of Leicester City.

However, following the hearing, Mr Bath said he would be returning to the drawing board and applying again ahead of the match with Watford on Saturday, September 18.

He said: "The decision is a little disappointing - we have worked with the police throughout the application and have done everything they have asked. 

"However, it seems every time we agree to something, the goalposts move. We will continue to work with them though and hopefully can find a solution that works safely for everybody."