Residents fear late-night ‘student venue’ in park

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HOUSEHOLDERS near a Sheffield park fear the reopening of a bar and restaurant will result in too much noise and pose safety risks.

They are concerned that the new leaseholders of the Dam House restaurant in Crookes Valley Park are aiming primarily for the student market, with cheap alcohol and music, despite assurances that the venue will target “families, professionals and students”.

Objections are being lodged to an application for a licence, and, if it is granted next week, councillors are under pressure to restrict the opening hours.

The request is for a pub selling bar food that can stay open until 1am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and until midnight the rest of the week. The aim is to also be allowed to offer live and recorded music and dancing.

Many critics are welcoming the reopening of Dam House after its sudden closure but are worried that its focus is shifting.

In a submission to the council, Harcourt Community Action says “it is in our interest for it to succeed.

“However, its application for late opening hours and marketing strategy to attract students in the main with cheap alcohol, live music, karaoke, ladies’ nights and sporting events is not appropriate in this park setting, in a residential area.”

The Friends of Crookesmoor Parks are asking for “fairly strict” conditions, such as to prevent late-night outdoor drinking.

“We should stress that we are please to see Dam House reopen as we feel it has a lot to offer the park and its users.

“For example, if it were to provide a family-friendly environment and sell meals, ice creams and coffee, etc, in the daytime in a relaxed and welcoming environment, it would make the park an even more attractive place to visit.”

More than 20 representations have been made to the council, raising worries about noise, the risk of crime in the park at night and the dangers of people falling into the lake.

A resident of Harcourt Road says: “The location of Dam House is such that the noise is naturally amplified by the combination of the steep-sided walls and open water, creating a natural ampitheatre, meaning that late-night events at Dam House are very noisy, especially for those on Harcourt Road backing on to the park.

“The promotional material currently circulating is geared towards the student demographic and clearly promotes cheap alcohol. The combination of this, alongside extended opening hours and live music, is very concerning for those that live alongside the venue.”

Dam House manager James Travis has written to householders to reassure them it will not be a nightclub. He says it will welcome families, professionals and students and the “surrounding tranquillity” will be preserved, with no music played outside.

“We hope to become a family favourite eating establishment for the patrons of Crookes and Sheffield as a whole.”

Councillors are being told that the premises will be monitored by CCTV, there will be a ‘challenge 21’ policy and staff will be trained appropriately.

A council licensing committee will consider the application on Tuesday.