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Bid by Swindon residents to change pub hours fails
CONCERNED residents have failed in their bid to convince Swindon Council’s licensing committee to change the opening hours of a pub they say is causing late-night noise disturbance.
In an unusual move, residents brought about a review of the premises licence of The Village Inn, in Ramleaze, Shaw, which can sell drink and put on entertainment seven days a week between 10am and midnight.
Licence reviews are normally brought about by the police or the council itself.
Three residents attended yesterday’s licensing panel hearing, led by Vernon Montgomery, of Saddleback Road, who asked councillors to impose a new closing time of 11pm from Sunday to Thursday inclusive, but to allow the pub to open earlier so as not to reduce the overall trading hours.
They also asked the panel to make it a condition that the smoking shelter at the front of the premises stops being used at 11pm, something which they said had reduced the noise problems since it was imposed voluntarily a few weeks ago by the premises licence holder, Mitchells and Butler.
However, the panel decided to make no changes, claiming a reduction of hours would be disproportionate, after the firm revealed it planned to reposition the smoking shelter so its open ends pointed more towards the district centre than residents’ homes.
Mr Montgomery said: “We don’t want to see the pub close whatsoever. We just want to work with it, because the noise is excessive.
“And if you have a pub that shuts one hour later than everyone else’s pub, it’s obvious what people are going to do: they come down for one hour’s drinking, they’re going to carry on.
“By the time the people actually leave the pub it’s 12.30am.”
He agreed the noise from the smoking shelter had decreased since the voluntary 11pm limit was imposed, but suggested it would be better to move it behind the pub.
Michael Barnes, also of Saddleback Road, said: “I have been in the area for more than 20 years and the pub is an asset to the area. The only gripe I have is I’m in London most mornings at 7am and I’m home at 5.30pm.
“Having patrons leaving the pub at 1am, 2am, screaming, shouting, effing and blinding, is very annoying. We don’t want to see the pub closing down, just slightly reducing the hours of the smoking shelter.”
Phil Crier, lawyer for Mitchells and Butler, said: “What we would be asking the committee to do is not take any action on the review application but to allow the company, which is a responsible PLC, to take the steps necessary to reposition the closed side of the smoking shelter and see whether that works and see whether in fact we can re-introduce the use of the shelter until the closing time of the pub.
“Until that action has been fully investigated, we would be able to maintain the 11pm closure of the smoking shelter in the meantime, and that’s in hope and expectation that we can close off this side that’s more proximate to the local residents.”
Speaking after the decision, Mr Montgomery said he was surprised councillors did not impose the recommended conditions, so residents would consider whether to appeal.
OTHER PREMISES REVIEWED
THE Victoria pub, in Old Town, has been sanctioned by the licensing committee after being caught on two occasions selling booze to teenagers.
The popular watering hole and music venue, in Victoria Road, whose premises licence is held by Anna Sprawson and David Young, failed two test purchases by underage volunteers for Wiltshire Police in May 2010 and last October.
Police also called the review as there have been public safety issues owing to the smoking area being directly outside on a public footpath beside a busy main road.
A report presented to yesterday’s licensing panel showed it served drink to two girls aged 15 and 16 on May 28, 2010. It did not fail any further test purchase until October 27, 2012, when two 17-year-olds bought Bulmer’s cider and a Smirnoff ice.
The Victoria and the police agreed a set of conditions to be added to the licence, which were endorsed by the panel. These include a ban on under 18s in the pub after 9pm unless with an adult and a Challenge 25 policy.
- A licensing panel on Tuesday granted a new premises licence for The Grapes Hotel, at 135 Faringdon Road. The venue had its licence revoked last year and it is still closed. Owner Enterprise Inns has been given a new licence for it to operate as a pub and a hotel, selling alcohol between 11am and midnight from Monday to Saturday. The closing time on Sundays was reduced to 11pm.