Fears over pub's plan to extend hours

Thursday, 27 July, 2006

Concerned residents in the heart of Bury St Edmunds fear a pub's plans to sell alcohol until 2.30am could lead to disruptive behaviour.
The Queen's Head, in Churchgate Street, wants to extend its hours so it can compete with nearby rival pubs which stay open late.
However, residents say they are already losing sleep as people are noisy and make a mess when they leave the pubs.
Simon Harding, from Church Walks, who recently lost a campaign to stop the Dog and Partridge from opening later, said: "Is it not unreasonable to ask for a peaceful eight hours sleep without being disturbed at all hours.
"The Queen's Head does play an important role in the community but it is in a very dense residential area.
"It is just totally unacceptable to have another pub in the area staying open until 2.30am. Any increased anti-social behaviour ruins people's lives and shatters communities."
At the moment, the Queen's Head stays open until midnight from Monday to Saturday. Other pubs in the area have applied to St Edmundsbury Borough Council and been granted later opening hours.
Cllr Mike Ames, who represents the Abbeygate ward, said: "I can see the pub's point of view but the question that must be addressed is when does a pub stop being a public house and turn into a nightclub.
"Residents have already expressed their concerns to me and they fear possible late night noise and disturbance."
Although the Queen's Head has applied for a late licence it will only open late if an occasion, such as the World Cup or business reasons, merit it.
Jan Rutherford, landlady for 20 years, said: "The reason we have applied for the new hours is we want to be on a commercial par with other licensed premises.
"We are a family-run business and we are proud of the role we play in the community. I can assure you I do not want to upset any nearby residents."
Bury Town Council and David Ruffley MP have objected to the longer hours and anyone interested in lodging their views on the application must contact St Edmundsbury by July 27.