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LOSING SLEEP: Quirky pub licence changes opposed

LOSING SLEEP: Quirky pub licence changes opposed

Stockton Council Municipal Buildings, Image: Google Street view

A revamped pub has seen its push to remove a raft of old licensing rules passionately opposed, with claims some neighbours are losing sleep due to noise.

However, the owners of Marshall’s, on Yarm High Street, have agreed to keep a dividing wall  standing – and hand out a contact number in a bid to tackle any future problems.

The former Union Arms saw a makeover in the summer by the operators of The Ship, at Redmarshall, and The Prickly Pear Bistro, in Middlesbrough.

The owners want use of its garden to serve drinks until 10.30pm, and old licensing rules written in 1999 replaced with new conditions to allow later serving indoors.

But residents and a property owner aired their frustrations at a Stockton Council hearing on Thursday.

Geoffrey and Lesley Shaw told the panel they’d lived next door to the pub for the past 15 years – and enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the area.

They objected vehemently to any changes in the use of land and hours to stop them keeping their living standards – pointing to recent trouble on the High Street.

Mr Shaw said: “Do we want another pub in Yarm with extending licensing hours leading to further cases of anti-social behaviour?

“No we don’t.”

The householder was happy the pub was open, but didn’t want it to impact on their way of life before pointing to “flood light pollution” and noise disturbance late in the evening last weekend.

Mr Shaw said he’d sent an email at ten to midnight on Saturday night about loud music coming from the pub.

He said: “Our properties adjoin the Union Arms and we’re suffering now.

“They continue to disregard all current licence constraints so what hope (is there) for the future?

“Why play music with doors and windows open which can be heard clearly if not only to annoy neighbours, and show continued disregard to current licence conditions, residents and children in the area?

“Both adults and children are finding it hard to get to sleep at night.”

However, councillors later heard the owners refuted allegations about noise coming from the pub.

Homeowner Mauro Carneiro told the committee how there had been past trouble at the back of the pub when it came into use as a beer garden in the 1990s.

He added there had been agreement in the past in creating a four metre high wall between residents and the venue – arguing the old licence was “perfectly fine for now”.

“For more than 20 years we have lived peacefully with the pub,” said Mr Carneiro.

“The current conditions assure that. They really make sure the pub and residents work together to make Yarm a better place.

“This is being challenged by the current landlords and, in my opinion, this is poor thinking from the pub.”

No “get it down your necks” beer here 

Allegations of noise prompted visits from environmental health officers last week – where the sound system was put on full volume, and officers couldn’t hear noise from near homes when the doors were shut.

Conditions have been agreed with Cleveland Police and environmental health to ensure the doors are kept closed at the venue.

Solicitor Piers Warne, for the applicants, told the panel £250,000 had been spent on the bar’s quirky revamp.

Operators Kevin Robertson, Sally Marshall and Toby Marshall signed a lease with Greene King over the summer.

Mr Warne said the bar was now food-led with tapas-style food with influences from around the world – serving everything from afternoon tea to cocktails, and a premium range of beers.

He added: “Their entry level beer is Amstel – your Fosters and Carlsbergs aren’t served there.

“The cheaper ‘get it down your necks’ drinks aren’t served there.

“And the music offer is very much in keeping with a restaurant – it’s quiet, low key and to encourage and facilitate discussion.

“It’s based around a music called electric swing – a kind of toe-tapping 1920s music is the best way to describe it.”

The solicitor said they wanted to make sure the new licence was fit for purpose given the big changes.

He didn’t believe the 1999 legislation was relevant – before pointing to how there had been no complaints at the pub, or any need for enforcement action, since 2011.

Mr Warne added recent complaints had arrived since the application to change the licence was lodged.

And he told councillors how the land at the rear had “stirred up a hornet’s nest” – revealing threats of legal action being made by some residents.

“Unsubstantiated”

When it came to concerns about noise, Mr Warne confirmed the new allegations would be investigated – but that the pub refuted allegations music was “blaring out” from the venue.

“That is simply not the way this premises operates,” added Mr Warne.

“If there is by some mechanism we don’t understand music causing a nuisance we will offer that condition that a (contact) number be given, and let’s investigate it and find out what it is.

“At the moment, it’s an unsubstantiated allegation.”

The solicitor believed the application should be backed as it stood.

But he added they were happy to include conditions to ensure a named contact was handed to residents who had concerns, and that the four metre wall was kept.

The committee also heard the owners had no intention of converting its land at the back to a play area.

Rounding off, Mr Warne urged councillors not to reduce hours of music at the pub – saying it would be “disproportionate”.

“With the doors closed, and the music cranked up as far as it can go, it cannot cause a nuisance to residents,” he added.

The licensing panel will make its decision in the next five working days.

 

Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter


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