Bitter blow to pub over later opening hours

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THE owner of a recently revamped Broomhill pub complained this week that he was being prevented from staying open as late as two others in the centre.

Kane Yeardley, who reopened The York 12 months ago as a community pub and restaurant, was speaking after councillors voted six-to-four against an extra hour’s trading, until 12.30am during the week and 1.30am on Friday and Saturday.

Approval would have brought the pub in line with the Broomhill Tavern and Fox and Duck.

Before Mr Yeardley’s company, Forum Cafe Bars Ltd, bought The York, it served until the same time as the other pubs. But when he applied to revamp the pub, council officers took the opportunity to rein in opening hours.

After Monday’s council meeting, Mr Yeardley said: “We would like to compete on a fair, open field and it seems unfair that we have to close earlier than our competitors, when we have really invested in refurbishing the pub. We have never had any disturbance and a lot of our customers don’t understand why we can’t open until the same time as the Broomhill Tavern and Fox and Duck.”

Planning officer Chris Heeley told councillors the other pubs in Broomhill were still operating under rules adapted before planning laws. Consequently, their opening hours were dictated by licensing, as opposed to planning, decisions.

“We think that in planning terms we are being consistent,” he said. “The inconsistency arises when there are no planning controls.”

Mr Heeley said the issue was muddied by an ongoing campaign to ensure nearby takeaways adhered to their opening hours, after complaints of young people congregating late at night. “We are trying to keep a lid on activity in the Broomhill area,” he said.

“We are fighting quite a difficult battle trying to bring takeaways into line. It does cause difficulty with trying to disperse customers late at night. We feel that the more premises like this that are open later, the worse the problem will be.”

More than 50 objections were received to the later opening hours. John Birtwhistle, Broomhill Action and Neighbourhood Group committee member, told councillors: “We are very pleased that this has become a very well managed community pub. That is why we are disappointed that it is trying to go after a different, nocturnal, clientele.”

But Mr Yeardley said he had turned The York from a “tired rock pub, serving discounted beer” into a community asset employing 25 people.