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Licence granted for Wetherspoons’ Downham Market pub

GV of The White Hart Pub in Bridge Street, Downham Market ANL-160302-190444009
GV of The White Hart Pub in Bridge Street, Downham Market ANL-160302-190444009

National pub chain J D Wetherspoons has been granted a licence to open a new pub in Downham despite neighbours’ concerns.

The pub giant will be spending £1.7 million on transforming the White Hart, in Bridge Street.

Planning permission has already been granted to add an extension onto building but a licensing hearing was held on Tuesday.

People living near the site went along to West Norfolk Council offices to raise concerns about noise and light pollution from the pub garden.

Andrew Lane represented the concerns of Shimit Patel and his tenants.

Mr Lane said: “We have four families with young children whose bedroom faces over this garden. Light and noise is going to massively increase and what we are asking is for ways to mitigate the effect this is going to have on families with children.”

Lucy Chase and her family have lived in two houses around the pub for 60 years.

She has concerns that the new kitchen extension will not shield her family from noise or light.

Mrs Chase said: “I do welcome Wetherspoons to improve this pub for the good of Downham. I would urge you in order to protect residents so we continue to enjoy our homes and gardens and able to sleep at night please condition the sale of alcohol until midnight.”

Bill Merry has lived behind the pub for 25 years in Paradise Road and had to construct a 5m fence in order to stop patrons from walking through his garden.

He said the fence would not act as a noise barrier along with calling for the branches on a tree to be trimmed and for the lights in the garden to be lowered.

Mr Merry said: “I have no protection as 90 per cent of my property is exposed.”

Solicitor acting for Wetherspoons, Nigel Connor, said the firm was keen to work with its neighbours.

He told the hearing that the development would create 35 to 40 jobs and that there will be an emphasis on food.

Mr Connor stated that the pub will have digital CCTV and will be creating a smoking area in the garden to prevent customers spilling onto a narrow pavement.

He added that the pub wanted to ensure that the garden did not cause problems to neighbours and will be limiting access to it after 10.30pm during the week and 11.30pm at weekends. The firm is also creating a 3metre acoustic fence to parts of its garden.

Ahead of the hearing, Wetherspoons have also agreed to conditions raised by the council’s community safety team, which includes shutting doors and windows after 10.30pm.

Speaking at the hearing Mr Connor said: “We want to be part of the community.”

Councillors have approved the licence which allows the pub to be open until midnight Sunday-Wednesday and 1am from Thursday to Saturday.

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