News analysis

Objections to a new Brewdog bar are a sadly familiar case for pubs

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Objections to a new Brewdog bar are a sadly familiar case for pubs

Related tags: License, Public house

Pubs often suffer from negative portrayals during consultations - whether it’s a debate about a new opening or the late night-levy, objections slam venues as a burden on society.

BrewDog is the latest pubco to have difficulty opening a site, and the company is slating common objections as “ill-informed”.

The craft beer brewer turned operator is battling objections made to City of York Council’s planning committee to secure a new 2,500ft bar in Micklegate.

'Public nuisance'

North Yorkshire Police’s specialist licensing officer has led the case against the pub, due to the predicted “significant public nuisance and loss of amenity to residents”.

The site is within a Cumulative Impact Zone, which aims to fight late-night disorder.

One resident has objected on grounds the street would become a “noisy run for pub-crawlers”.

Another resident wrote to City of York Council's licensing committee, stating: “We have enough of these types of places and if there is a need for another bar, then surely the peace and quiet of the residents should be considered.”

They're familiar blockers, and BrewDog said it isn’t a fair way to portray the industry.

'Ill-informed'

Bar hunter Steve Hogan told the PMA​: “This is the same opposition we’ve faced in the past, and is purely ill-informed individuals assuming the worst and failing to understand what we stand for and the type of environment our bars offer.”

The operator is confident of turning opinions around and opening in early 2016, and Brewdog said it will invite any “nay-sayers” into the craft beer bar if the license is granted.

“BrewDog bars are homes for beery enlightenment and you only need look at our sites across the rest of the country to see that any opposition just needs to visit a BrewDog venue to see it’s more of a benefit to the area than anything else,” Hogan added.

Late-night levies

The industry has similarly been forced on the defensive with late-night levies.

The charge is applied to licensed premises selling alcohol from midnight to 6am; It has been introduced in Newcastle, Islington, City of London, Nottingham, Chelmsford, and Southampton.

Camden Council held a consultation with the licensed trade, local residents and other stakeholder groups about introducing a levy this year.

After assessing and analysing 182 responses, with 66% supporting its introduction, the licensing committee concluded that “the demands placed on council and police resources in managing the night-time economy were sufficient to warrant the levy being introduced”.

But many feel the levy as disproportionate and unfair on the industry.

The Deltic Group owns nightclubs in Chelmsford, Southampton and Nottingham, most of which are on a high bracket of levy payment due to their size.

Chief executive Peter Marks told the PMA​: “We have yet to see any benefit. We view this as just another additional tax on our business and industry.”

'Punitive' 

And the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers has described levies as “punitive” measures against hardworking businesses.

This is particularly due to the existence of voluntary partnership schemes such as Purple Flag and Best Bar None.

Chief executive of ALMR Kate Nicholls said the introduction of a levy “undermines” existing schemes which keep the streets safe.

Does the industry have an ill-informed reputation? Email byv.tebff@jeoz.pbz​ with your views.

Related topics: Licensing law

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