Pub granted extension to weekend drinking hours despite fears

The Blagdon Arms in Cramlington.
The Blagdon Arms in Cramlington.

A Cramlington pub has been granted a ‘modest extension of hours’ despite the concerns of the area’s county councillor.

The Blagdon Arms, on Village Square, applied to make a number of changes to its licence, but it was the additional 30 minutes of drinking time on Friday and Saturday nights which sparked objections.

This proposal to extend the terminal hour for the sale of alcohol to 1am on those days, resulting in a closing time of 1.30am, was discussed at a Northumberland County Council licensing hearing last week.

A nearby resident had opposed the changes, listing a number of incidents which had taken place after the pubs emptied out, including a couple ‘who were actually having sex at 1.15am the other morning right outside the Freemasons building’.

“Not only does more alcohol lead to the possibility of more nuisance, crime and disorder, but the level of these will be greater,” they wrote.

Coun Mark Swinburn, who represents the Cramlington Village ward, said that the area ‘already suffers from an unacceptable degree of alcohol-related, anti-social behaviour, specifically late at night, resulting in both public and private damage’.

But solicitor Suraj Desor, of Poppleston Allen, for Stonegate Pub Company, said the ‘modest extension’ would ‘allow for a longer wind-down and a more gradual dispersal’.

“Stonegate has a wealth of experience in operating premises to these hours in close proximity to residential properties,” he continued.

Pointing out that other premises in the area already operated to the same hours, he added that it would be ‘disproportionate and unreasonable’ not to grant the extension.

The committee agreed, as it was ‘unlikely’ that the problems reported ‘could be directly attributable to the premises in question’ and because license holders are only responsible for the ‘immediate vicinity’ of the licensed area.

It was also noted that there had been no concerns raised by police or environmental health.

Coun Swinburn, who was unable to attend the hearing, had also called for the hearing to be adjourned for further consultation with residents.

The councillors decided against this, having been told that the displaying of notices on the pub and in the press had been done legally.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service