Wearside pub hours extended

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PLANS to extend drinking hours at a pub have been given the go-ahead – despite objections.

Councillors have given permission for The Biddick Inn, in Fatfield, Washington, to stay open an extra hour to cash in on trade during public holidays.

The proposal had attracted a string of objections from nearby residents concerned later closing times would bring vandalism and drunken violence to their quiet neighbourhood.

But Sunderland City Council has now granted pub owner Enterprise Inns permission to keep serving until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays on bank holidays, as well as on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

At a meeting of the authority’s licensing sub-committee, company bosses tried to reassure householders they would take steps to maintain order, and that the change would not spark a further application to transform the Bonemill Lane pub into a nightclub.

“The premises is tenanted out, but as far as I know there are no problems whatsoever,” said solicitor Richard Taylor, representing the firm.

“If there is a problem in the future, then we will address it. We will get rid of the tenant, as simple as that.”

Mike Harris, regional manager of Enterprise Inns, said the extended hours were vital for the pub to compete with a nearby competitor, which already had later closing times on public holidays

“All we are looking to do is provide a facility where pub goers who want to drink a bit later on the bank holidays can go,” he said.

No official authorities, including police and environmental health, objected to the plans.

However, the pub will have to abide by added conditions, including refusing additional entry to the premises after 11pm and restricting access to the beer garden after 10pm.

Householders at the civic centre meeting spoke about their fears.

“We’re not painting the area as a problem neighbourhood,” said objector Joyce Wake. “Quite the contrary, it is a pleasure to live there, but it isn’t when you get antisocial behaviour and noise levels that you can hear a quarter of a mile away.”

Others residents raised concerns about the adverse effects of the local drinking culture.

“We don’t have a continental cafe culture here,” said Peter Welsh.

“People go out and get hammered and this simply gives them the opportunity to have more to drink. There is the likelihood that there will be more trouble.”

Twitter: @sunderlandecho