Chichester brewery increases opening hours
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The Little Monster Tap, in The Hornet, will now be able to stay open until 11.30pm instead of 10pm and serve alcohol until 11pm instead of 9.30pm. During a meeting of the district council’s alcohol & entertainment licensing sub-committee on Monday (October 30), owner Brenden Quinn said the plan was to only use the extra hours on Fridays and Saturdays.
The extended hours during the rest of the week would be used for big events. As the meeting started, chairman Iain Ballantyne (Lib Dem, The Witterings) appealed for ‘civil conduct’, acknowledging that the application to vary the premises licence was a ‘contentious issue’.
The application had been scheduled to be heard in September but was withdrawn after an ‘issue of concern’ was raised, resulting in an investigation and a formal warning letter being issued under the licensing act.
Mr Quinn defended himself from claims that patrons of the Tap were responsible for noise and mess left in the area. He told the committee that he had organised a meeting with locals to put their minds at ease – but only one person showed up.
Stressing that the increased hours were needed for the business to survive, he added: “We’re struggling – it’s tough out there. We just want to survive. What we currently have is just not working for us and we need these changes to happen.”
Mr Quinn said he wanted to invest in the city – he believed in the city – something reflected in the Tap’s charity work which has raised more than £1,000.
He added: “We want to grow with this city – but we feel with our current licence and closing at 9.30, that’s not going to happen.”
The message from some of the neighbours who aired their views was clear – they supported the Tap but just not at those premises and definitely not until 11.30pm.
One even voiced a threat that the matter would be appealed in court should the extra hours be allowed. Only time will tell if that threat is made real. One neighbour complained about noise in an adjoining courtyard and said that changing the opening hours would ‘fundamentally threaten’ his plans for a peaceful retirement. He said: “It’s going to be life-changing if the noise factor carries on to 11.30pm.
“We should not have this inflicted on us. We residents were here for many years and now the Monster has arrived – literally.”
When asked if he had ever complained to the council about the noise, the resident said he had ‘learned to live with it’.
Mr Quinn insisted that customers were not allowed to gather in the courtyard and suggested that the noise was coming from delivery drivers waiting to pick up takeaways from nearby fast food restaurants.
It was an often emotive meeting, with the chairman being branded ‘rude’ by one resident for trying to move things along.
Another said he had ‘little confidence’ in the procedures adding that the council ‘seems to think we are idiots’.
But in the end the application was agreed, with a condition banning the sale of tapped lagers and spirits being removed.