Pub's outdoor drinking under threat

WHILING away long summer evenings drinking with friends next to a river in a picturesque Essex town could become a thing of the past, it has been revealed.

WHILING away long summer evenings drinking with friends next to a river in a picturesque Essex town could become a thing of the past, it has been revealed.

For many years the Rose and Crown in Wivenhoe has been popular with locals and visitors alike for its large section of seating alongside the River Colne.

The pub's owners, Spirit Group Limited, have applied to extend the licensing hours at the Quayside venue, to open to Midnight from Sunday to Wednesday and until 12.30am from Thursday to Saturday.

But it appears the pub will now face difficulties getting permission to serve alcohol to be enjoyed outside at any time - because it does not have permission from the Highways Authority, which is responsible for the patch of land where the benches are usually located.

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The application for extended hours has also come under fire from local residents, concerned about the impact of drinkers wandering in the area around the pub.

Richard Barnard, of East Street, said: “The noise of people drinking on the Quay outside the Rose and Crown on summer evenings can be disturbing to those living immediately nearby, but the noise of departing drinkers around 11pm to 11.30pm can be loud, and those of us who live in the surrounding streets are often kept awake around this time.

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Dan Chapman, of West Quay, stated: “Customers are unsupervised, resulting in the spread of drinkers with accompanying nuisance to residential neighbours.

“Music is performed outdoors to the nuisance of a considerable number of Wivenhoe residents. It is not uncommon to find two or three hundred customers drinking off the licensed premises at night in fine weather when homes in the area would like their windows open. This cannot be right.”

A Colchester Borough Council report states: “It is the licensing manager's contention and information to the licensing sub committee that the applicants have failed to show in their application that they have obtained the relevant agreements or permissions from the Essex County Council to use the highway area to the front of the premises for the purposes intended.

“This places the application at odds with the council's statement of licensing policy as it relates to the quayside area.”

The pub's owners will now have to try to get permission from the Highways Authority to use the quayside area and then make a further “variation application” to the borough council.

The licensing sub-committee hearing will be held on March 24 at Colchester Town Hall.

No one was available from Spirit Group Limited, based in Burton-on-Trent, last night.

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