Bizarre drinks licence ruling to be challenged

Andrew Hunter and Nicola Hunter outside the Hunter Club in Bury which has strange licensing laws regarding which door you can enter through if you intend to have a drink.
Andrew Hunter and Nicola Hunter outside the Hunter Club in Bury which has strange licensing laws regarding which door you can enter through if you intend to have a drink.
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A BIZARRE licensing rule means that people drinking soft drinks are allowed in the front door of a club, while drinkers have to go in back door.

Andrew Hunter, who runs The Hunter Club in Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, is now challenging the strange ruling through a fresh licensing application.

The ruling was made by St Edmundsbury Borough Council in April after Mr Hunter successfully applied to increase his opening hours until 1am Thursday to Saturday – but was refused permission to use the Guildhall Street door as an entrance and exit up to 10pm.

“It is a bit odd,” said Mr Hunter. “It has been a licensed premises here for 300 years, first as the Saracen’s Head and then the Royal British Legion – and people have been coming through the front doors unrestricted.”

Mr Hunter, who has lived in Guildhall Street for more than 20 years, has now applied to use the front door up to 8.30pm and sell alcohol in the front room of the property. His last application was greeted with a mixed reaction from local residents. Some including his immediate neighbours said there was a problem with noise while other said the club was well run and should be supported.

The reason the restrictions did not apply to the previous RBL club is because a special area licensing policy has since been introduced which means applicants for new or varied licenses have to prove they will not add to problems of noise and unruly behaviour experienced by town centre residents.

Abbeygate ward councillor Paul Farmer was behind the move to get the special area policy introduced, and spoke against Mr Hunter’s previous application.

“I am in contact with neighbours about the application and am waiting for some of the parties to the last hearing to get back to me before I decide what course of action, if any, to take,” he said.