Bar Wars: A brief history of conflict and controversy with the college bars


2008 – SCAN breaks the news in Freshers’ Week 2008 that four college bars were taken over by Commercial Services over the summer. These changes allowed University House to centrally appoint the licensees of Cartmel, County, Grizedale and Pendle bars. Michael Payne, then LUSU Presi- dent, said: “The independence of Lan- caster’s nine colleges has yet again been undermined.”

JCRs and the Labour Club began to leaflet to urge a boycott of the college bars. Extra security was placed on the doors of University House amid fears protestors would storm the building.

SCAN published an article claiming Commercial Services was “haemorrhaging money”. David Peeks, then head of the division, threatened SCAN with legal action. SCAN published an apology and clarified that, while Peeks had made a profit, he had not hit his targets.

2009 – All nine bars come under control of the University, once again during a holiday period – Easter. JCRs expressed dismay at not being consulted.

2010 – Controversy strikes as cuts at the University lead to the closure of seven of the nine college bars on one weekend night each week. Bars were told to make an ‘efficiency saving’ of £50,000 in the year. Then LUSU President Robbie Pickles called the move “disappointing”.

2011 – LUSU make an attempt to take control of the bars from Commercial Services. Union Council approved several options to consider, including taking full control of them. The plan fell through due to various unspecified ‘legal reasons’.

2012 – Jo Hardman, formerly of LUSU, replaces Peeks. Over the sum- mer, management changes lead to bars losing individual licensees. Some students see this as the biggest threat the college bars have seen to their independence. A LUSU General Meeting will take place to debate the planned changes.

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