PUB owners say they were “surprised” with the avalanche of objections to post-Covid bounce-back plans as they made a licensing plea to councillors.
Members on the licensing sub-committee heard of the Carpenters Arm’s plans to serve alcohol until midnight as well as to close at 12.30am, seven days a week, and to play live and recorded music until 1am on New Year’s Eve and operate outside Sunday hours only on Good Friday and Christmas Day.
The pub, which is in Upper Village Road, Sunninghill, also operates as a restaurant serving French cuisine.
Currently, Carpenters Arm closes at 11pm – but La Cloche Pub Company Ltd, which owns the premises, wants to extend their hours by one to give their customers enough time to finish eating and to drink up before closing.
However, 18 residents lodged objections to their application, fearing noise and drunken rowdy behaviour at night, which triggered a hearing on Friday, August 27.
Objectors say they can hear noise coming from the pub and its garden, making it “difficult to sleep at night”, even with the windows closed, fearing an extra hour will prolong it.
Speaking at the meeting, Pamela Thompson, who lives adjacent to the pub garden, said: “We have had incidents where, even up to 11 o’clock, there’s noise in the garden, but I accept that and that’s why I never complained.
“But it does make it difficult even with our double glazing windows closed to get to sleep sometimes, and my concern is people will be sitting outside right next to where our bedrooms are until midnight, 12:30, and how that will impact us.”
But Tina Noui, secretary of La Cloche Pub Company Ltd, said they were “surprised” and “emotional” to see many objections to their application as residents have not raised any issues to them in the past, aside from one neighbour who complained about staff being noisy at night.
She said they had a stern word with staff, some of whom live above the pub, to reduce noise at night when they are outside and have made measures, such as double glazing and planting bamboo outdoors, to cushion the noise.
However, they accepted some noise from the pub garden may impact homeowners adjacent to them and offered to close the garden at 11pm.
The applicants reiterated the extra hour is to give people enough time to vacate the premises gradually instead of at once where they believe this will lessen noise impact if people leave one by one.
Like many businesses, lockdown has had an impact on the Carpenter Arms where the applicants explained without this extension, the pub could face serious trouble.
Mrs Noui said: “We are just asking for the extra hours, so we can run it as a very successful, viable business given the increased costs of staff and food, all of which have gone up since the pandemic.
“It’s much harder to make money. We really need to be able to operate within the timeframe of the extra hour than we got.
“It’s not going to be a constant thing, it’s just to be able to have a buffer for the times we do actually require it under trade, so we’re not breaking the law.”
Cllrs on the committee have adjourned and will make a final decision within five working days.