Pub giant wins an extra hour opening

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A PUB giant’s bid to extend the operating hours of its new town centre premises was given the go-ahead yesterday – despite concerns about the impact on residents.

JD Wetherspoon’s application to run the pub, in the Corn Exchange, Bury St Edmunds, from 7am to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 7am to 1am Friday and Saturday was approved by councillors at a meeting of St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s development control committee.

The company had sought these hours as part of its initial planning consent but at the time councillors opted instead for a one hour reduction on closing times.

Community groups and residents have blasted the move to revert to the original times – highlighting the ‘adverse impact’ the extension would have on the neighbourhood.

In letters to the authority, Abbeygate borough and town councillor Paul Farmer noted that the 80 people listed on the electoral roll within 150 yards of the building and others ‘could be disturbed by hundreds of people disgorging on to the streets at 1am’.

One resident feared there would be a ‘domino effect’ in which other licensed premises would be encouraged to apply to extend their opening times resulting in an ‘adverse effect’ on the town.

The Suffolk Preservation Society and Bury Society also objected to the application.

In a report, planning officer Peter Fuller said there were other businesses near the site that operated at night and ‘it is not unreasonable to expect activity’.

He added there was no evidence to support the view there would be more noise and disturbance as a result of the extra hour.

Ricardo Rossetti, of agent Savills, said Wetherspoon pubs are equipped with CCTV and the extension would not change the environment or add to the levels of activity.