Noise fears over plan to extend Wolverhampton pub's hours

A landmark Wolverhampton pub’s plan to extend opening hours has sparked concerns from neighbours and a city councillor that the move could lead to increased noise nuisance.

The Hollybush pub on Penn Road, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View
The Hollybush pub on Penn Road, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View

Pub giant Marston’s has applied for the Hollybush on Penn Road to have a variation made to its current licensing allowances.

The company’s request to the council seeks to extend hours for the supply of alcohol to 8.30am-12midnight (Sun-Thurs) and 8.30am-1am (Fri-Sat), opening hours from 8am-12.30am (Sun-Thurs) and 8am-1.30am (Fri-Sat), and also the provision of outdoor music from 9pm to 11pm.

However, the proposals have raised fears from nearby residents of unwanted disturbances, along with local councillor Celia Hibbert who represents Penn ward.

In a letter to licensing bosses, Councillor Hibbert said: “I have received several objections from residents in this area and I have been out to the streets around the Hollybush to listen to some of the complaints being raised.

“I quite agree with the residents that this variation should not be granted. No matter what the day of the week is, I think it is rather too early to sell alcohol at 8.30am.

“This is a residential area and opening that early means the delivery vans coming even earlier. Apparently, these vans already arrive just before 8am and that wakes up a lot of elderly people around there.

“In addition, there are also children who need to get ready for school who will be affected. With regard to closing even later, this will increase anti-social behaviour which we are already struggling to contain in this part of Penn,” she added.

“I have received about six messages and ten phone calls so far, all objecting to this proposal. I would be grateful if the concerns of the Penn residents can be considered and I hope this application can be rejected. This will save us from exacerbated anti-social related problems in the future.”

In further written correspondence, a resident living near the pub who did not wish to be named, said: “We will have disturbances from patrons arriving by car – some with radios on – the slamming of doors and the sound of the TV on the pub patio.

“The Hollybush is situated in a residential area surrounded by houses on three sides. It now wants hours longer than – say for example – JD Wetherspoon’s the Moon Under Water in Lichfield Street, which is in the city centre and located within commercial premises. It has shorter hours, no outside garden areas, a sound system and its patrons arrive on foot.

“Based on past experiences, I anticipate additional noise and therefore I am completely opposed to additional hours being granted, leading to a further deterioration in the enjoyment of our properties and quality of life.”

The application from Marston’s added: “The types of regulated entertainment proposed materially do no more than reinstate the normal pub entertainment that was previously unregulated.

“The premises already has the benefit of an external licensed area. These are sought to be enhanced, but are already used in the consumption of off-sales. It is therefore not anticipated that any issues will arise.

“Indeed, the provision of waitress service into these areas will improve supervision and thereby promote the four licensing objectives.”

Council licensing manager Greg Bickerdike said: “There is insufficient information within the operating schedule to show how the applicant will address the licensing objectives.

“I will be looking to mediate with the applicant in order to address these concerns by way of amendments to the operating schedule prior to the statutory licensing sub-committee hearing.”

Senior environmental health officer Rita Braham added: “I would like to object to the pub’s wish to vary the condition relating to outdoor music from 9pm to 11pm, due to the close proximity to residential properties.”

All interested parties have been invited to attend a meeting of the council’s statutory licensing sub-committee on Friday when members will make a decision on the application.

Councillor Hibbert, who represents Labour, is standing for re-election to the Penn ward when the city goes to the polls on May 5. Also contesting the seat are Ranjit Dhillon (Conservative) and Michael Hopkins (Lib Dems).

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