Extra drinking time at pub is given the boot

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Attempts to extend the drinking hours at a Hadleigh pub have been refused after fears the move would adversely affect residents.

The Eight Bells pub in Angel Street had applied for permission to serve alcohol until midnight seven days a week.

However, Babergh District Council’s licensing committee turned down the plan, citing concerns that the extra hour would lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour and noise late at night.

Speaking during Friday’s meeting, James Buckingham, the council’s environmental officer, said the extension was “inappropriate”.

“It is closely surrounded by residential properties and it is a very quiet location, particularly during the evening,” he said.

Mr Buckingham said seven complaints had been received about loud music being played at the pub, as well as shouting and swearing, since it had been taken over by new tenant Tom Benn in May.

Sergeant Gary Pinyoun, from Suffolk Police, argued the additional drinking time would result in increased levels of drunkenness and more crime. He said police had also received reports of drug taking at the pub.

“The proposed closing time will allow the clientele to leave later than usual and we are concerned that, although people may leave the premises, they may still loiter in the area causing noise, being disorderly and contribute to serious violence in a public place,” said Mr Pinyoun.

A number of Angel Street residents had written to the council to complain about noise coming from the pub, which has been operating past its usual 11pm closing time thanks to a temporary licence. They also claimed broken glass had been found outside the pub and people were urinating in the street.

Mr Benn, who intends to buy the pub from current owner Gianni Baldissin, said he had refurbished the building and had saved the business from closing.

“I am confused and upset by accusations of inappropriate management style,” he said. “We are firm but fair.”

He added that the pub would still close earlier than others in town.

“It is very disheartening to see customers leave and walk up the road to drink somewhere else,” Mr Benn said.

The committee unanimously refused the pub’s application.