Club keen to extend hours and add music

BACK ON TRACK: Members of Northcroft Social Club in Sudbury after it received a new licence.
BACK ON TRACK: Members of Northcroft Social Club in Sudbury after it received a new licence.

The ambitions of a Sudbury social club to extend its opening hours and drinking times will “blight” the lives of residents, it has been claimed.

Northcroft Social Club, in The Croft, is seeking permission to supply alcohol until midnight from Monday to Thursday, until 1am on Friday and Saturday and 11.30pm on Sunday.

The club, which would close 30 minutes after last orders, also wants the option of playing live music until at least 11.30pm six nights a week.

Two years ago, the club had its premises certificate withdrawn following a series of breaches, including excessive noise and admittance of non-members. Nearby residents are strongly opposing the application.

“It may be that the club will more responsibly regulate its membership, but it will have little, if any, control of patrons leaving the premises in the early hours and I fear that, yet again, our lives will be blighted and the values of our properties significantly reduced,” said Richard Mower, of The Croft.

Fellow resident Antony Gilham, who encountered problems sleeping due to excessive noise from the club, said the application felt like the past was “coming back to haunt him”.

“I still remember the times when I was unable to sleep in my bedroom and had to sleep in my bathroom on a portable bed,” he said.

“The area has been much better to live in since the licence was last reviewed.”

The club, which has around 200 members, was successful in obtaining a new licence in October 2012.

This featured various conditions to prevent problems resurfacing, including bricking up ground-floor windows and old vents to stop noise escaping, putting in an extra layer of window glazing and conducting a noise trial to see what levels of sound were acceptable.

Joanna Hart, an environmental protection officer for Babergh District Council, said that no trial had taken place and she was unable to determine if residents would be disturbed by unwanted noise.

She added the club had also failed to show it had updated its rules for members and guests.

“As such, I feel that this application is premature as there is insufficient information to demonstrate how nuisance will be avoided,” said Mrs Hart.

“Based on the information given, I do not have confidence in the management of the premises to prevent public nuisance.”

A licensing hearing will be held on Friday, May 9.