The Original Reggies of Stone has also been granted permission to serve customers until midnight four days a week and 12.30am on Friday and Saturday nights – going beyond the current limit of 11pm.
The High Street bar, which reopened in late July after the lockdown, has been opening the roof terrace to customers in recent weeks using TENs (Temporary Event Notices), Stafford Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee heard on Friday.
But the new facility sparked concerns for Tanya Moran, landlady of the nearby Red Lion.
A letter submitted to the borough council, which was read out at Friday’s hearing, said: “The venue has a newly opened roof bar which has been crowded – despite social distancing guidelines – and the noise from there has given me cause for concern. I’m aware of when banter begins to escalate and discussions become more heated and this has been evident on at least two occasions at the venue within my earshot.
“The roof bar area’s walls are not exactly high and could easily – and I’ve no doubt – will be climbed onto which could result in injury if someone was to fall from such a height.
“The venue was previously occupied by a bar called Edisons and there were several incidents of bottles being dropped off/thrown from the roof bar onto the pavement below, obviously endangering pedestrians. At the very least plastic glassware and bottles should only be used.
“The late opening and trading hours are of concern also, as this will then be one – if not the only at present times – venues open that late, meaning drinkers who have possibly been drinking throughout the day/evening will migrate there for a late drink, with all the public disorder and noise that brings when these drinkers leave the venue.”
There were no objections raised by Staffordshire Police or the council’s environmental health department to the proposed changes however.
Robert Simpson, head of operations at Stafford Borough Council, told the panel: “We have confidence they will work with us. The experience we have had over the last few weeks is any requests we have made have been acceded to. At the moment there is a good working relationship in place.”
Lee James, director of The Original Reggie’s of Stone, said: “We are following all the rules that have been set out and we are working very closely with Stafford Borough Council to make sure we are following guidance as we should be. That is very important to us.
“The rooftop bar has been open and we have had no issues whatsoever. It is in the application that we will have security at all times and we have had security on since the rooftop has been open, every single Friday and Saturday night.
“He stands on the rooftop, watches people and keeps an eye on things – that’s probably why we haven’t had any incidents. We also have CCTV on the roof terrace to provide security.
“The railings are one of the biggest things we have been working on with Environmental Health as there is a wall that is between 1m and 1.5m high. The standard the Health and Safety Executive have for a balcony or terrace is 1.1m.
“The wall slopes back, so it’s lower at the front and higher at the back and we have installed railings that are 1.4m, so we are 300mm over the HSE guidelines. The biggest thing for us is the health and safety of our customers.”
The hearing was also that the bar was currently closing at 11pm and not hosting DJs or live music during the pandemic. It was also willing to swap glassware for polycarbonate drinks vessels in the rooftop drinking area.
The panel approved the changes to the premises licence that were applied for. Councillor Ann Edgeller, who chaired the hearing, said: “We wish you the best of luck.”