First micro pub to open in Wolverhampton despite residents' anger

The first micro pub in the West Midlands will open in Wolverhampton after council chiefs granted a licence for the establishment – despite concerns from neighbours that it will cause noise and drunken behaviour in the area.

Yet Gary Morton, owner of Hail to the Ale in Pendeford Avenue, Aldersley, has agreed to stop selling alcohol at 10pm rather than 11pm as originally applied for. Mr Morton, who runs the Essington–based Morton Brewery with his wife Angela, said he wanted to make a compromise so he could move forward.

He revealed the pub is expected to be open in three to four weeks.

It will serve up local real ales as well as cider and wine. Although there are no micro pubs in the West Midlands, there are currently 18 across the country. They have been given their name because they are in small venues and run by a micro brewery.

The proposals were approved by planning chiefs in June but had to go before licensing chiefs yesterday, who granted a licence with conditions on the opening hours.

Neighbours' calls for the pub to be shut on bank holidays were rejected – and it will instead be open from midday to 5pm on those days.

The pub will also sell bottled beer to take away – but customers will be banned from drinking this within 20 yards of the site. No glasses of alcohol sold at the pub can be consumed outside either.

Residents said they were worried that drinkers would congregate outside the pub and make life a misery for for people living nearby.

Neil Evans, of Pendeford Avenue, said: "People standing in their front gardens or walking past would be within heckling range and would make life quite uncomfortable."

But Mr Morton told the meeting: "The pub will provide a warm and friendly atmosphere for people to come and have a chat. We will attract mainly middle aged to older clientele and by not selling alcopops or spirits we do not expect to attract younger crowds."

After the meeting Ian Martin Harvey, of Blackburn Avenue, said residents were 'pleased' the opening hours had been changed but added: "We are still concerned about bank holidays as this is time people want to rest so we didn't want the pub open then.

"No–one wanted this on their doorstep and they would have been upset if it would have stayed open until 11pm."

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