Surlingham vineyard granted licence to open longer hours

Winbirri Vineyards, Surlingham. Soon to be Norfolk's biggest vineyard, run by Stephen Dyer and his Son Lee.

Winbirri Vineyards, Surlingham. Soon to be Norfolk's biggest vineyard, run by Stephen Dyer and his Son Lee. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY COPY: FOR:EDP2 © ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010 (01603 772434) - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

People will be able to explore and sample wine from one of Norfolk's award-winning vineyards after councillors granted a licence for it to open and sell alcohol late into the evening.

Members of South Norfolk Council's licensing committee granted permission for Winbirri Vineyards in Surlingham to open from 10am until 11.30pm from Monday to Saturday, with alcohol sold between 10am and 11pm, and to open between 10am and 10.30pm on Sunday with alcohol sold between 10am and 10pm.

Lee Dyer, who owns the vineyard, applied for a licence for alcohol to be sold and consumed on a mezzanine floor in a barn on his two-and-a-half- acre site.

The meeting heard that Mr Dyer's family had owned the field for more than 20 years and used it to grow vegetables which were sold from a family business in Norwich. Seven years ago they expanded their business and planted a vineyard which has since won awards for its wine.

Mr Dyer said the licence would enable him to run vineyard tours throughout the year and sell wine. It would also enable him to sell wine via the internet and phone on the premises.

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But residents raised concerns about the potential noise and the increase in traffic.

Richard Atkins, of Bramerton Road, said: 'I am not a local hater; I am a concerned neighbour. I wish them every success in their venture but want to make sure there's no noise nuisance.

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'There have been parties of up to 40 in the past. These are people who enjoy wine tours. I don't have any issues with the clientele. I would like a condition where numbers do not exceed 20 or 30.'

Ian Seely, representing Mr Dyer, said: 'He knows he has got to be a good neighbour. He has invested a lot of money in this.

'You have got a local, sustainable rural business which you ought to be applauding and encouraging.

'We are talking about a modest operation in an insulated building.'

Chairman of the committee, Robert Savage, said: 'We have considered the licensing objectives and found no reason why this should be refused.

'We do recommend that a sign is erected to request that visitors are mindful of excessive noise and to leave the premises quietly.'

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