Council’s refusal to allow later opening will mean “up to 80 to 100 highly charged” customers leaving pub after midnight

Georges March

Georges March - Credit: Archant

Pub landlord Nigel Marsh said a committee's refusal to allow extended opening hours would mean 'up to 80 to 100 highly charged individuals' leaving his pub after midnight.

Licensing meeting at the Boathouse Wisbech. Cllr Kit Owen.

Licensing meeting at the Boathouse Wisbech. Cllr Kit Owen. - Credit: Archant

Mr Marsh was speaking after Fenland Council licensing committee had refused him permission to stay open for live music until 1am on three nights and for recorded music to carry on until 2am.

Licensing meeting at the Boathouse Wisbech. March residents Jamie and Chris Wilcox.

Licensing meeting at the Boathouse Wisbech. March residents Jamie and Chris Wilcox. - Credit: Archant

'As from midnight both alcohol and live music must stop,' he said. 'I cannot retain my customers after that- they're hardly likely to want to drink water and listen to my chat. I only ever wanted to release people from the pub over a staggered period from a high tempo live atmosphere but now the police will have to manage their presence on the street.

Georges March owner Nigel Marsh

Georges March owner Nigel Marsh - Credit: Archant

'It means queues for take away meals, queues for taxis and queues to get into another pub that does have a late licence.'

Mr Marsh, landlord of Georges in High Street, March, said he planned to hire a barrister and to appeal the refusal to a magistrates' court.

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The three hour hearing at Wisbech Boathouse on Tuesday heard from neighbours angry with the noise emanating from the pub. One resident claimed that he listened to his television wearing rubber sealed headphones.

Councillor Kit Owen warned that allowing live music until the early hours 'is too much for local residents'.

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Committee chairman Kay Mayor said both she and her colleagues were 'particularly swayed' by noise complaints.

She accepted Mr Marsh had tried to work with police but she claimed the additional glazing, previously promised, had only been fitted recently.

And she told Mr Marsh her committee was 'not convinced' he is satisfactorily controlling existing customers leaving the pub.

Her committee was 'unanimous' in rejecting his live music extension.

Chris Wilcox, who lives opposite in Bevills Place with his wife Jamie, said the noise was unbearable at weekends especially during the summer when people crowded into the front beer garden at the High Street pub.

'At night all you can hear is the thump of the bass, the music has been so loud and the customers so raucous that when they are outside in the front garden you couldn't have your windows open, it's too much.

'Our neighbour who is a pensioner with hearing problems says it disturbs her.'

Toni Fox, who lives in a flat opposite, said: 'There are four residents in particular who are affected by the noise some with children, we all work and we can't fit our sleep patterns round the Georges jollies.

'We're not asking him to stop the music we are asking him to reduce the noise to an acceptable level.

'We're tired and worn out and fed up of listening to loud music and rowdy customers.

'The well-being of residents must be taken into consideration.'

Noise levels at the Georges have regularly reached 70 decibels according to Mr Owen who said the World Health Organisation recommended levels stay below 40.

Mr Owen said that neighbours had endured enough and were fed up of listening to customers cussing, brawling and screeching until the early hours of the morning.

'When the front garden was a car park none of these problems happened,' he said.

'In the summer months there are large noisy gatherings of people outside. Even during the day walking past the Georges can feel intimidating thanks to the number of drinkers outside the place.

Environmental health officer for Fenland District Council, Laura Harwood, who recorded noise levels at the pub over a four-day period in August, said the levels were 'highly exasperated' until pub closing time with the dominant sound coming from the music.

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