Twenty people have objected to plans to extend the opening hours of a Hove pub which wants a return to its original closing time.
Neighbours are concerned about noise in the early hours of the morning if the recently demolished Sussex Cricketer reverts to a 12.30am closing time once the doors open to its new premises.
When planning permission was granted for the pub – and a new block of flats in – the council included a condition that the pub shut at 11.30pm.
The £20 million scheme was the first part of a four-stage makeover planned for the County Ground, in Eaton Road, Hove.
And now Sussex Cricket Estate – a subsidiary of the cricket club – has applied to Brighton and Hove City Council to vary the planning condition which it said was “unacceptable”.
It said that a review of nearby pubs and bars found that four – the Blind Busker, the Palmeira, the Station and the Exchange – all under a mile away all closed at 12.30am.
The cricket club pledged noise management measures, such as closing the outside terrace and shutting doors and windows by 10.30pm and putting up signs to remind customers to be quiet when leaving.
The club said that “it is important for the long-term viability of the pub” that it was not restricted in a way that hampered “its ability to trade effectively and meet the reasonable needs of its customer base in a competitive local trading environment”.
It said: “Varying the existing restriction on opening hours will allow the pub to compete fairly with other later-night venues within the city.”
One objector, whose details were redacted on the council website, said: “As a resident that directly overlooks the site, I am well aware of the historic disturbance caused late at night by people exiting the pub, waiting in loud groups for collection by taxi, etc.
“This was already a real nuisance to those of us needing to get up for work the next day at the scale it was occurring previously.
“The new venue will surely be doing its best to increase regular footfall and I am dreading the further disruption to our originally predominantly residential environment as a result.”
Another anonymous neighbour said: “The ensuing noise that this will create, for a little while after premises actually close, will have a huge impact on this quiet residential road, its residents and also the residents of other nearby properties.
“There will certainly be a lot of noise from exiting patrons and their cars, car doors banging and additional taxis. Noise carries at night and this will impact on residents who live around the ground.”
One person wrote in support of the proposed later hours, saying: “The old Sussex Cricketer had a licence until 12.30am and so do most other local pubs.
“It actually reduces nuisance as customers leave over a longer period, rather than all leaving at the old historical closing time of 11pm. The terrace has restricted hours already.”
The old pub has been knocked down and work has started on building the new premises – part of a nine-storey block with 37 flats.
The second phase of the County Ground masterplan involves demolishing the club offices and extending and adapting the south-west stand to include a shop, café, hospitality area and reception.
More stands and hospitality areas are proposed for the third and fourth phases.
The application for later hours is due to be decided by the council’s Planning Committee at a virtual meeting next week.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 2pm on Wednesday (7 April) and to be webcast on the council’s website.
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