Pub loses late licence bid

A VILLAGE pub which residents claim acts as a magnet for late drinking for young people has been refused permission to open late.The Dog at Grundisburgh, near Woodbridge, wanted to serve alcohol until midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday under the new licensing regulations and the pub also wanted to extend the current 20 minutes drinking up time to 30 minutes and shut at 12.

By Richard Smith

A VILLAGE pub which residents claim acts as a magnet for late drinking for young people has been refused permission to open late.

The Dog at Grundisburgh, near Woodbridge, wanted to serve alcohol until midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday under the new licensing regulations and the pub also wanted to extend the current 20 minutes drinking up time to 30 minutes and shut at 12.30am.

Joint licensee James Rogers told magistrates that he ran a ''good house'' and he wanted to open later to allow customers to enjoy a late dinner without being rushed.

But Punch Taverns lost an appeal before Ipswich magistrates when they challenged the decision by Suffolk Coastal District Council's licensing sub committee, who had refused permission for the extra hours.

The company will now have to pay the council's costs, estimated in the region of £500.

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The magistrates warned that they were worried the later opening hours could aggravate problems already experienced by residents in Grundisburgh.

Richard Wynn, who lives next to the pub and shares a party wall, said: ''At the moment they are unable to comply with the current licensing hours and some leave past midnight and the noise from the bottling up goes on until 3am.

“We are concerned that if they are unable to adhere to the current licensing hours, if they are granted an extra hour and given the relatively low policing in our area, we are concerned that they would not adhere to the variation in hours and in effect we could suffer from noise and disturbance until the early hours of the morning.

“My wife has to get up at 5.30am to go to work and these late hours would disrupt sleep patterns and she would get a maximum of four hours sleep.

“The publican and many of his staff are young and, I believe, relatively inexperienced in running a public house, and it is my belief that they do not exercise enough control over patrons when they leave and when they are drinking in the pub.

“Mr Rogers says that much of his custom derives from food. I would challenge that. It seems that over the last eight or nine months we have had an increase in young drinkers late at night and of course there is the associated anti social behaviour.''

He added: ''Mr Rogers has always been polite and demonstrated understanding and sympathy when we have had cause to complain and we have had cause to do so on numerous occasions.

''Punch Taverns are purely and simply trying to maximise the value of their assets and to get as many opening hours as possible.''

Mr Rogers said: “We do try and get everybody to leave the pub in a well behaved and sensible manner. “There have only been one or two incidents in my two-and-a-half years here and there have been problems in the past with doors banging in cars and anti social behaviour directed at Mr Wynn and his property.

''We liaise very closely with the police but unfortunately we have lost our village policeman in the last few months. We still liaise very closely with Woodbridge police station on any matters that are important.''

He said the pub needed to increase trade because it was becoming more expensive to run with higher business rates and beer costs. '

'Everybody feels the pub is run in a suitable manner. The pub is good for the village - country pubs are dying and since the summer the pubs at Tuddenham and Otley have closed,'' said Mr Rogers.

He said he had taken action to curb noise and he had imposed a time limit of 10pm for music and darts, and he had stopped live music in the public bar section.

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