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Beer garden at Dartford pub allowed to stay open late on weekends despite concerns

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 May 2018

The pub will be based at the previously-named The Court House in Spital Street. Picture: Google

The pub will be based at the previously-named The Court House in Spital Street. Picture: Google

Archant

A new Dartford pub will be allowed to have its beer garden open until 10.30pm at weekends, despite concerns it could impact those living nearby.

The Wig and Crown – which will be based at the previously-named The Court House in Spital Street – was granted a licence by Dartford Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee earlier today (May 21) with some restrictions to when the back courtyard can be used.

The building has stood empty since last September, but was the source of an abatement notice in 2011 following complaints about noise coming from drinkers and smokers in the outside area.

Following this, the previous owners had voluntarily agreed to close the beer garden to punters at 9pm each night, bringing an end to the complaints.

Environmental health officers at the council had asked for the new venture to have the same restrictions, while the new leaseholder requested it to remain open until 11pm each night.

Julie Short, principal environment health officer, said: “We are concerned about the impact that, once again, keeping the courtyard open until this time will have on local residents.

“This is particularly the case in the summer when – not unreasonably – they want to have windows open to assist with ventilation and temperature control with their homes.

“While it is acknowledged this is a town-centre location where noise levels are higher and originates from other sources, the courtyard to the public house is directly overlooked by a number of flats, and there are other residential properties in the area.”

Ms Short told the sub-committee it was “difficult to control” how much noise people made, especially if they have just been in a noisy environment, and said late-night usage would be “detrimental” to neighbours.

Leaseholder Yvonne Rickards described herself as an “old-school” operator, having been running pubs since the age of 18 – including the Wat Tyler Inn Hotel in Dartford High Street.

She said measures had been put into place to reduce the noise generated in the back courtyard, and said other pubs in the area had similar facilities.

Ms Rickards told the meeting: “I fully understand that environmental health want it closed at 9pm, but I think it’s a bit unrealistic.

“We’ve got no music speakers out there, we’re boarding off the gates so we keep the sound in as much as we can, we’ll have door staff there, and also a half-roof to keep noise in.”

The mother-of-five also downplayed fears about troublesome customers, adding: “It might sound snobby – I’m not a snob, don’t get me wrong, I was born in Dartford – but we’re trying to appeal to a different clientele.”

The committee agreed the back courtyard can remain open until 10.30pm on Fridays-Saturdays and bank holidays, but only until 9pm on Sundays-Thursdays.

Committee chairman Cllr Arron Bardoe (Con) said: “What members have endeavoured to do is to seek a compromise between the suggested hours, while being mindful of residents living next to the site.”

It is believed The Wig and Crown’s doors will open to customers next month.

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