BRISTOL: Louisiana venue licence
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An “iconic” Bristol music venue where Coldplay and Amy Winehouse played has been granted a new licence despite neighbours’ concerns about noise and nuisance.
The Louisiana in Wapping Wharf, run by the Schillace family for 34 years, can now finish repurposing its basement as an art gallery and acoustic gig room and is allowed to stay open half an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays until 1am.
But councillors refused to let the pub extend its hours on Thursdays after 16 residents lodged objections, almost half of which attended the City Hall hearing on Thursday, November 25, to plead their case.
Licensing consultant Pete Rosser, representing the venue, told Bristol City Council’s licensing sub-committee that the application would largely tidy up the existing premises licence which dates back to 2005 under old legislation and needed updating to meet current requirements.
He said: “This is a modest extension of hours. There is no closing time on the current licence but we are introducing a closing time with a 30-minute drinking-up time.
“These hours were considered by the police as reasonable with the conditions they suggested which we accepted, the main one being no admittance after 11.30pm.
“This effectively means The Louisiana won’t attract additional customers by becoming a late-night destination, which should quell some of the residents’ concerns.
“The premises have operated pretty much without incident, crime and disorder, and the potential for nuisance is actually reduced under this new licence – residents will be better protected under the conditions.”
He said letters of support, plus a video message from Thangam Debbonaire MP urging the panel to approve the licence, outnumbered the objections.
Mr Rosser said there was no evidence to support neighbours’ concerns that later hours would “inevitably” attract more people bringing noise, nuisance, litter, alcohol and drugs.
“This is an iconic music venue, well-managed by the same family for 34 years, recovering from the ravages of Covid,” he said.
“The hours applied for are not late and concessions have been made in response to the concerns of residents.”
But Janet Walsh, of Bathurst Parade, said: “My concern is this is a residential area with mainly elderly people.
“The soundproofing in the Grade II-listed houses is not good and there is that worry about an extra hour of disturbance.
“It isn’t necessarily people fighting and arguing, we can hear everything that is said just by people walking past.
“It is perhaps a selfish concern that sleep is sometimes difficult when people are walking by.”
Another resident, Jane Miller, said: “If this application is approved, there will be many residents who won’t be able to sleep until after 1.30am.
“An extension to the opening hours will make life very difficult indeed and exhausting for neighbours, including children.”
Mr Rosser said the back garden would be shut by 10pm and that the venue was happy to reduce its request to extend alcohol sales – originally until 12.30am, plus 30 minutes drinking-up time, from Monday to Saturday – to cover only Thursday, Friday and Saturday, an offer the panel restricted further by excluding Thursdays.
Booze sales on Sundays will end at 10.30pm, an hour earlier than now, at the premises on the corner of Bathurst Parade and Wapping Road.
The new licence also includes late-night refreshment and recorded music until closing time, as well as films, but not live music because no licence is needed before 11pm.
Councillors were told that Coldplay and Amy Winehouse played several times in their early days, while other acts who have had gigs there include Keane, who were signed at the venue, Muse and Mumford & Sons.
It was saved from closure during lockdown after a crowdfunder was launched.
Words: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporter
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