CONCERNS remain after a proposed bar and grill was given a license.
Councillors, the police, licensing officials, the Town Team and residents living above or close to the unit at Summer’s Quay in Stalybridge all spoke out against the plan to establish a venue there.
Noise, anti-social behaviour and the impact on people living nearby were the main issues for opposition.
But Tameside Council still gave Tina Harrison, who also owns the town’s Khaleasi nightclub, the licence to set up through her Ohana FL company.
Reduced hours from an original application to be licensed until 1.30am on some days, with it being allowed to open from 8am until 11.30pm, as well as other conditions including no live music, no drinks outside and alcohol only being sold with a meal, were imposed.
Despite the decision, though, people – 19 of whom voiced objections to the authority – remain deeply unhappy that permission was given.
At a four-hour long meeting of Tameside Council’s speakers’ panel (liquor licensing) committee, Miss Harrison shot down what she thought were assumptions and misunderstandings, assuring people that no flats will lie directly above it and it will house a decibel counter to make sure it is not too loud.
She said, admitting it will cost more than £200,000 to convert the unit into a venue of about 80 covers: “Things have been very misunderstood. It’s not going to be a nightclub, it’s going to be a high end bar and restaurant.
“I feel people have taken this application in completely the wrong way. It’s not going to be another Wetherspoon’s, it’s not that type of venue.
“It’s an assumption my customers are going to be loud and rowdy. It’s not going to be a rowdy environment.
“It’s not going to have blaring music. Some things will be trial and error but I’m happy to have conversations with residents. There will be litter checks every hour.
“And I’d hope the type of customer I’m aiming for doesn’t display anti-social behaviour. I want a really nice restaurant. I don’t want it opening until silly o’clock in the morning.
“I don’t want to offend an upset anybody. I just want to provide the people of Stalybridge with a really nice venue.”
The plan for the day is to sell breakfast from 7am until midday, be a bistro style café then a restaurant, bar and grill until close.
Ms Harrison added: “I believe we lack this type of establishment in the town centre and this would be a great asset to the town.
“I do think it’s needed in Stalybridge – for me, there’s no variety in Stalybridge.”
Summer’s Quay is located within a Cumulative Impact Area (CIA), which intends to reduce the number of late night licensed premises within a certain space because of the ‘unacceptable level of crime, disorder and public nuisance they contribute to.’
One resident accused Miss Harrison of ‘living in cloud cuckoo land’ while also raising an issue of delivery wagons dropping off supplies.
Police officers also spoke out against the plan, particularly the late opening, with PC Martin Thorley saying: “I believe there is a distinct possibility people attending the other local bars will be drawn to these new premises causing public nuisance to the local residents.”
Local beat officer, PC Susan Morris, went further, saying: “The apartments were marketed and sold as luxury accommodation. The opening of a licensed premises in the units beneath the apartments would have a detrimental effect on the lives of the people living above.
“The late licensing hours and also the request for entertainment and live music I feel would impact so much on the lives of those living above that they would have no choice but to either sell or move out due to the increase in noise during and after opening times.
“There is currently a real time issue in the centre of Stalybridge and around Armentieres Square involving young teenagers and older adults which has culminated in large scale gang fights and an increase in drug dealing.
“This establishment would attract further interest from these groups and an increase in anti-social behaviour which, again would impact on the lives and businesses of the people living in the apartments, running the local businesses and also residents in the surrounding area.”
Several residents also voiced opposition while Councillor Eleanor Wills stated: “I have the same concerns as the police with regards to criminal activity and the possibilities surrounding the late hours.
“Local councillors welcome and embrace new businesses but it has to be the right business – a few things in the application raised red flags.
“Some of the residents have young children, some have retired into the building because of the amenities on their doorstep, some sold homes to come. A lot are now fearful they’re going to have to uproot.
“We’ve worked really hard in Stalybridge to come away from a one-dimensional night-time offer and this is working.
“I worry the application is a step backwards to what the town used to be. It’s assurances the residents and community need.
“I feel the proposal will impact negatively on people’s health.”
She and ward colleagues Cllrs Dave Sweeton and Leanne Feeley added: “For a comprehensive business model, there is no mention of a car parking facility for customers, where are people expected to park, in Tesco’s?
“We do feel that the town and local community could benefit from a new business in the premises, but not an offer that greatly impacts in this way.
“It should enrich where they live not deter people from living in a home that they’ve otherwise enjoyed.”
Despite the objections, Tameside Council’s speakers’ panel (liquor licensing) Panel gave the application the go ahead.
Chair Cllr Dolores Lewis said: “There has been a significant number of representations against the granting of a licence.
“The main theme is that a bar-type establishment operating beyond midnight will not promote the licensing objectives, specifically the prevention of crime and disorder and public nuisance.
“The police and licensing authority have no objection in principle to a restaurant-type business, subject to conditions, and an appropriate closing time.
“The panel has real concerns in respect of the potential increase of crime and disorder and noise nuisance, adding to the impact of existing premises.
“On balance, having considered all of the available information, the panel has concluded this is an application that should be granted, subject to conditions and restrictions on hours.”