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BRISTOL: BrewDog licensing campaign

BRISTOL: BrewDog licensing campaign

Residents stand united as they are campaigning against a late night Brewdog at a former Costa Coffee chain in Millennium Promenade in Bristol., Saturday 27 November 2021 . PHOTO:PAUL GILLIS / Bristol Live

Scores of residents have joined forces to campaign against a new late-night BrewDog bar opening in Bristol’s Harbourside.

A whopping 165 neighbours are objecting to a licensing application by the pub chain to serve booze until 1.30am in the former Costa Coffee, on the corner of Millennium Promenade and Cathedral Square, which shut on November 12.

They are backed by ward councillor Alex Hartley who says the “canyon-like” surrounding buildings will create a bellowing “echo chamber”.

A hearing of Bristol City Council licensing sub-committee has been scheduled for December 23 to decide whether to allow the application for the premises to open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and 1.30am on other nights.

David Mair, chairman of the leaseholders association for Balmoral House and Waverley House, which are next to the building and have 104 apartments, said it would make life a misery for residents.

He said: “The council has granted planning permission for a bar to open on Cathedral Walk which is a residential area.

“The only other outlets currently are low-key restaurants.

“This will directly impact the residents in Balmoral and Waverley House, as well as Anchor Point.

“People want to feel safe and be able to sleep in this high-density residential area, and the neighbourhood has come together to speak out and say stop.”

He said there had been a “steady creep” of licensed outdoor spaces in the vicinity, such as bowling alley/bar Lane7 which has a two-tier system where the section nearest the homes must shut by 9.30pm while the other side can stay open until 11.30pm.

Mr Mair said the unit was previously occupied by The Cuban restaurant which had an earlier outdoor closing time of 9pm.

He said the proposal for BrewDog was for an outdoor area partially facing the flats – a first for the neighbourhood – opening until as late as 11.30pm.

“This clearly sets a new precedent and pretty much invalidates the reasoning behind the early closure of the right-hand side of Lane7 immediately next door to it,” Mr Mair said.

“This is a residential area and BrewDog will not be able to control the noise from its customers leaving the premises.

“There needs to be some consideration of apartment blocks around Cathedral Walk in these plans so that our neighbourhood remains as peaceful and family-friendly as possible.”

Hotwells & Harbourside ward Lib Dem Cllr Alex Hartley said: “I sincerely hope the licensing committee will reject the application as it stands.

“The licence is simply too late for a residential area, and the noise generated would negatively impact hundreds of local residents.

“As a former publican myself, I know how difficult it is for businesses to keep customers quiet after they have been drinking.

“The canyon-like structure of the surrounding buildings would create an echo chamber that would be unacceptably loud.”

A city council planning officer granted planning permission under delegated authority in August to applicants Canada Life Investments for internal and external works to combine the Costa unit with an adjoining space for a new flexible commercial area with the option for a “shop, restaurant or indoor sport, recreation or fitness use and/or a drinking establishment”.

Mr Mair said the reasoning in the officer’s decision report that there would be no overall increase in the number of drinking establishments since The Cuban became Lane7 was “totally nonsensical” because the bowling alley was effectively a bar because it didn’t allow children in the evening.

While the planning consent includes a daily closure by 11.30pm outdoors and 2am inside, a premises licence is required for alcohol to be served and for late-night hot food and drink and live and recorded music after 11pm, and the licensing sub-committee can restrict the hours.

BrewDog has not responded to requests for a comment.

Words: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporter


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