Village bar’s licensing bid rejected

The Clockhouse, in East Preston, was refused permission to allow customers to drink while sitting on outside seating. Picture courtesy of Google Streetview SUS-150210-143409001
The Clockhouse, in East Preston, was refused permission to allow customers to drink while sitting on outside seating. Picture courtesy of Google Streetview SUS-150210-143409001
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A BAR’S licensing bid to allow their customers to drink while sitting outside has today been refused (Friday, October 2).

Customers have used the Clockhouse Bar’s outside seating for several years but a noise complaint in July revealed its licence did not cover the outside area.

A licensing application to Arun District Council was considered by councillors today but amid a series of objections from residents, the council’s licensing committee rejected the application.

Chairman Trevor Bence said: “In all the circumstances we find the application does not promote the licensing objectives. Accordingly the application is refused.”

The hearing heard from objecting residents, bar owner Colin Bradshaw, as well as the council’s licensing team and environmental health officer.

Objectors argued customers often caused disturbance late at night, while congregating outside.

Four noise complaints between July and September had been officially lodged with the council.

Mr Bradshaw said he was keen to work with the community and had agreed a set of conditions with Sussex Police to minimise the chance of future disturbances.

These included a 10pm curfew on the use of the outside space – two hours before closing time – and regular monitoring of designated drinking areas.

Environmental Health, however, believed the curfew should have been 9pm.

Mr Bradshaw said he had given nearby residents his mobile number so they could report problems, which he pledged to pass on to a wider area.

He said: “We have only had to call the police once and that was unrelated to our pub. We don’t have major issues. Yes, people get boisterous, and we are here today to try and address those situations.”

The committee was reminded that they could not prevent Mr Bradshaw’s outside seating, as that was a matter for West Sussex County Council.

But they could consider the use of the outside area for drinking.

After a long debate, they rejected the application, citing ‘serious’ concerns over the ‘major variation’ of the current licence.

Mr Bence said: “The noise and disturbance of persons gathering is one issue, however that also creates another issue regarding the licensing objectives of public safety.

“Concerns have been raised regarding the large numbers of persons obstructing the pavement while consuming alcohol and spilling onto other areas of the highway.”

The Gazette asked Mr Bradshaw for a comment after the hearing but he declined.