Seaton Sluice bistro bid approved despite concerns about noise and anti-social behaviour
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During a bad-tempered, two hour long licensing hearing, villagers claimed the new outlet, known as The Pans, would be too noisy for residents living on Beresford Road.
There were also fears that allowing the sale of alcohol would lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour in the village.
The site is currently vacant, and was previously a hairdressers.
The applicant had requested permission to play music indoors on the premises from 8.30am to 8pm Monday to Wednesday, from 8.30am until 10pm from Thursday to Saturday, and from 11am until 8pm on Sunday.
There was also a request to supply alcohol from 12pm until 8pm Sunday to Wednesday and 12pm until 10pm Thursday to Saturday.
Representatives for the applicant, Lisa Bagnall, pointed out that she was an experienced operator in the hospitality sector, and argued that the type of business proposed would not lead to the issues being put forward.
Members on the licensing panel heard that there had been 31 objections submitted to the council, as well as 15 letters of support.
However, none of the statutory consultees, including Northumbria Police and the council’s public protection team, raised any objections.
Speaking at the meeting, the applicant’s agent Matt Foster said there had been “outrageous” behaviour from people opposed to the plans.
He said: “Lisa is an experienced operator of licensed premises with over ten years’ experience managing pubs and restaurants. We are very confident she can operate under the council’s licensing objectives.
“We’re not looking for a stand-alone bar. Food makes the premises work – the alcohol is an addition. We will allow customers to come in and have a glass of wine if they wish, but it is going to be predominately a food-based bar.
“It is outrageous that somebody approached the landlord about this. Lisa has also been approached in the street, and somebody gained access to the site and interfered with the statutory notice in the window.
“This is outrageous behaviour and I have never heard of that happening before. This has been unacceptable.”
Coun David Ferguson, Hartley ward, who also lives next door to the site, said: “In the past the shop was a newsagent and also a hairdresser most recently. I could hear conversations from my living room and I could hear when the blow driers were on and off.
“There will be no way to contain the noise. It is the location of the premises we feel is the issue – this business idea is simply in the wrong location.”
Seaton Valley parish councillor Graham Eastwood said: “The parish council is of the unanimous view that this application should be rejected.
“All local authorities have a duty of care to local residents. If you allow this application, this authority will be abdicating its duty.”
A resident of Beresford Road, claimed: “We think the sale of alcohol will increase the number of people in the area under the influence, increase anti-social behaviour and put people at risk.”
But Mr Foster said: “This type of premises doesn’t cause the type of problems that have been mentioned. It’s a bistro. I would urge you to grant the application.”
Members retired to consider the application, before agreeing to grant it.