BOOZE can be sold at one of Swindon's most historic buildings because objections to the scheme were not valid, councillors have ruled.

Owner of the Mechanics Institute, Matthew Singh, applied to Swindon Council for a drink and entertainment licence for the venue.

He wants to transform the building in Emlyn Square but has had previous planning applications for the site thrown out.

Before last night's meeting the council received three objections to the plan.

A resident of nearby Taunton Street, members of the New Mechanics' Trust charity and London Street resident Martha Parry had all written to object.

But before the debate begun council licensing manager Lionel Starling spelled out the complexities of licensing law.

And he said that councillors would have to decide if the written objections were valid in licensing terms before any decision could be taken on the application.

After hearing from the officer the councillors debated each objection.

David Sammels (Con, St Philip) said: "I understand many local residents have concerns about this building and its future.

"But we're here to adjudicate on licensing issues and if it is appropriate to award a licence."

They dismissed each objection - and so approved the licence.

Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Parry said: "We have been misrepresented. We are not trying to be vexatious, we are just concerned about this and have been all along.

"We haven't got a lawyer and can't afford one. But we now understand what we should say."

Mr Singh said: "This is a major hurdle that has been cleared.

"Now we can start looking at opening this building for the first time in 21 years."

He said another planning application would be submitted sometime this year.