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Norwich pub to lose 24-hour licence after neighbours complain of late-night disturbances and sleep problems

PUBLISHED: 06:30 30 November 2012

Picture of the Marlborough Arms, Spencer Street, Norwich

Picture of the Marlborough Arms, Spencer Street, Norwich

Archant © 2004

A pub is set to lose its 24-hour licence after neighbours insisted loud music and noisy drinkers were stopping them from sleeping.

Norwich City Council has ruled the Marlborough Arms, in Spencer Street, will have to stop serving alcohol at midnight and close by 12.30am every day.

This decision was made after councillors heard residents were being disturbed until the early hours of the morning by noise from the pub.

The licensing sub-committee was also told the pub is “inadequately insulated” to stop noise from customers and music being heard by neighbours, even when the windows are closed.

No-one from the Marlborough Arms attended the meeting.

But the pub’s manager Roberta Smart said many of the problems in the area were not related to the venue. She said they were caused by people returning from nights out in Norwich city centre and added an appeal against the council’s decision is likely.

Further conditions imposed by the authority include live or recorded music stopping at 11pm and all windows and doors, except those allowing people to enter or leave the building, being closed while entertainment or live music is taking place.

People will still be able to use the smoking shelter until closing time but they will not be allowed to take drinks outside after 10.30pm.

The pub has 21 days to lodge an appeal.

Doris Watkinson, of Spencer Street, told Wednesday’s meeting it had been quieter in recent weeks late at night but people usually stood outside talking and laughing until 2am.

She said: “I’ve heard drumming until 2am, people singing until 2am and taxis coming and doors banging. It has been really bad.

“I don’t mind living near a pub. I’ve accepted it. But it gets worse and worse with it opening later.”

The review of the licence was raised by Sewell ward city councillors Julie Brociek-Coulton and Kevin Barker.

But the hearing was delayed by almost 30 minutes as council officers tried to assess whether the landlords John and Deborah Linford, of Frettenham, or the pub’s management had been notified of the meeting.

David Lowens, city council solicitor, made enquiries and said they were included on a list of addresses due to receive letters confirming the meeting.

But Marlborough Arms manager Mrs Smart, speaking after the meeting, said she was not aware of any paperwork being sent.

She said the pub closed at 10.30pm on Mondays, 11pm on Wednesdays, around midnight on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 1am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Mrs Smart said: “We were all going to be attending the meeting. If we didn’t know when it was, that’s why we didn’t go. The council has made a decision and we have not had our say.

“We never wanted a 24-hour licence in the first place. We asked the council to give us some guidance when the new licensing laws came in as we weren’t sure what hours to put down on the licence.

“They told us ‘put down 24-hour licence, you won’t get it’ and of course we got it.

“What I don’t think the residents understand is we don’t open 24 hours a day. It’s not possible.

“We probably close earlier than some other pubs in the area. We have signs up saying ‘please leave quietly, this is a residential area’ and a lot of the things we were getting blame and complaints for were people coming home from the city and walking up the street.”

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