Late opening bids by sports bar and takeaway anger residents

PEOPLE who live in apartments in Sheffield city centre are objecting to plans by local businesses to extend their opening hours until the early hours of the morning.

Both the Players sports bar in West Street and the Food Express takeaway in Division Street have submitted applications for later licences to Sheffield Council.

Players, which opens until 12.30am, has applied to stay open until 1.30am each Thursday, Friday and Saturday and on Sundays before bank holidays.

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Five letters of objection have been received from neighbours, who say the later times would result in unacceptable disturbance and increased anti-social behaviour.

One resident of the Royal Plaza apartment block said: "When I first moved here six years ago, I did not seek the peace and quiet of a country meadow, but at least there were quiet periods at that time and the quality of life was better.

"I do not appreciate people urinating, vomiting, throwing litter and having violent arguments on my front step at 3pm. At 3am it beggars belief."

South Yorkshire Police, meanwhile, said that they would have to increase patrols should Players be granted a later licence.

Pc Dave Laverick said Players is "no more problematic to police than other city centre bars and clubs" but added: "An extension of the operating hours would put greater demand upon police resources and necessitate an alteration of their patrol strategy to ensure public order is maintained."

Police records show that since January 1 this year more than 200 incidents were recorded in West Street, of which just 16 were recorded as emanating from Players.

Planning officers at Sheffield Council have advised councillors should approve the application, as extending the opening times by an hour would not cause a "significant rise in noise and disturbance."

Other venues in the area, such as La Mancha and Lava Lounge, are already permitted to open until 2am and later.

At the same planning committee meeting, which takes place at 2pm today, planners have recommended councillors refuse an application from Food Express to open until 3.30am on Friday and Saturday nights and until 3am the rest of the week.

The takeaway currently has permission to open until 2am from Thursday to Saturday, although it has had a temporary later licence allowing it to open until 3am since January. This trial period of later opening ended on June 5.

Coun Jillian Creasy, who is objecting to the application, said: "The applicant will argue that, because he has indoor seating, there is less noise on the street. But people still have to come and go and, after a night drinking, are liable to be rowdy."

Meanwhile, nine identical letters of support for the application have been received from bouncers working at nearby Ruby Lounge, Yates and Crystal bars. The letter claims the takeaway has "calmed people down after the effects of alcohol."

Planning officers said: "The extension of hours to this city centre premises is a balance between ensuring the vitality and vibrancy of the city centre and protecting the amenity of residential occupiers.

"In this case, there are residential premises positioned directly opposite the site and there is significant concern that allowing the premises to open past 3am on any day could result in the residents of Cambridge Court being affected by the excessive noise disturbance and nuisance."

At today's meeting, councillors are also set to approve an extension to the opening hours of Domino's Pizza in nearby West Street. The pizza shop is set to be granted an extension of its opening hours from 11pm until 1am every day of the week, on a temporary basis.