Sunderland pub’s opening hours agreed after community concern

Castle bar boss Grant Bulmer.

Castle bar boss Grant Bulmer.

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A BUSINESSMAN has reached an agreement with the community over extended opening hours at his new pub.

Ex-Royal Marine Grant Bulmer plans to re-open the former RAOB Club in Wynyard Street, Silksworth, and has applied for a late licence to hold special functions.

The former Lord Castlreagh RAOB club, Wynyard Street, Silksworth.'It will reopen as the Castle Bar with extended licensing hours.

The former Lord Castlreagh RAOB club, Wynyard Street, Silksworth.'It will reopen as the Castle Bar with extended licensing hours.

Renamed the Castle Bar, the venue will operate as a pub and restaurant, with occasional music and entertainment nights.

However, his application to extend opening hours until midnight from Sundays to Thursdays, and 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, drew 11 letters of concern from residents about possible noise and antisocial behaviour.

Councillors Pat Smith and Phil Tye echoed their worries, highlighting the number of elderly householders who live in the neighbourhood, and raised potential access problems for emergency vehicles.

However, at a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s licensing sub-committee this week the parties reached a “happy medium” over the proposals and agreed on reduced hours.

Coun Smith said: “We are trying to make the best of it.

“If I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t think it is a suitable venue for a busy bar, but I also want to see the place become used again.

“I want to encourage new business.”

The agreed closing times were 11pm from Sunday to Thursday, midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 2am on New Year’s Eve.

“It is a happy medium for all of us,” said Coun Smith.

“The people are concerned, but are trying to fit in with the plans as much as possible.

“We are as happy as we can be with these hours.”

Mr Bulmer, from Grangetown, said he was keen to reach an agreement with the residents.

The businessman also owns Signatures restaurant, in West Sunniside.

“We have no intention of putting on live music every night of the week in the Castle Bar,” he told the meeting.

“I made the application in case there was, for example, a wedding or function and people wanted to stay on a bit longer. The extended hours would give us the facility to do that.”

The licensing sub-committee granted permission for the revised hours.

A separate planning application for the property is expected to go before councillors in the coming weeks.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho