Pub owner’s plan to extend its opening hours angers residents

PLANS by a Calderdale bar to extend its opening times into the early hours on a weekend have dismayed residents who say their lives will be made “unbearable”.

Mark Hillas, the owner of Jack’s Bar in Park Square, Northowram, near Halifax, want permission from the council to stay open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays and to stage live music.

But dozens of locals have signed a petition objecting to the proposals saying the noise and disruption would be unacceptable.

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In a letter of protest, a resident, who has not been named, said: “My husband and I strongly object to the application. Our main objections are the current noise levels we already have to endure from customers who show no respect for the surrounding houses.

“Indeed the majority of customers do not live locally and therefore, after the pub closes they remain outside shouting and swearing waiting for taxis. If this application was approved we would expect the noise to continue until 2am which is unacceptable.

“The Windmill Tavern has had numerous managers over the years since it became Jack’s bar and not one of them has managed to control this noise. The extended hours would increase loutish behaviour, a repetition of what occurred last time they were granted a late licence.

“Even without extended hours we regularly call the police to report fighting outside the pub sometimes as early as 8pm. The current noise disturbance is annoying, however, we endure it as we expect the noise to cease by midnight, it will be unbearable if it were to continue until 2am.

“The pub is empty for most of the week closing before 10am, however, I do not want to endure the level of disturbance this late licence will cause just so the owners can make more money on the only days the pub is used.”

Another unidentified objector said: “When talking to residents I was amazed at the amount of noise, damage and disorder caused by customers leaving the premises during the early hours of the morning.

“Since the pub reopened in 2006 both myself and neighbours are continually complaining about noise, bad behaviour and loud music plus glasses and bottles left outside until the following afternoon.

“There is no control of rowdy, drunken customers leaving the premises and never has been. It is always left to the residents to call the police to control them.”

Another protestor said: “My main concern is that whenever a late licence is granted local residents are subjected to loud noise and unruly behaviour from customers outside the premises.

“Young people are so intoxicated that they are a danger to themselves and are often wandering up or down the middle of the main road. Local people feel intimidated by these youths wandering around outside with bottles and glasses which they later discard wherever they can.

A long-standing Calderdale councillor, Roger Taylor, (Con), who has represented the area for some time, said: “Residents are up in arms and I share everyone’s concern and given it is a residential area this could be a push too far. I am all for supporting small businesses but extending the opening hours might not be sensible on this occasion.”

A regular at the pub, who didn’t want to be named, added: “A lot of people complain about the noise from the pub on Friday and Saturday nights. I live close by and use it early doors. I can see a lot of people being upset by an increase in the hours that it is open and it seems all that would do is to create a lot more trouble. During the week it is fine.”

The Yorkshire Post was told Lynsey Hillas, Mr Hillas’s daughter, would be available for comment but she failed to answer phone calls. The application will be heard by Calderdale’s licensing sub-committee on Wednesday at Halifax Town Hall.