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Councillors Grant Licence To New Battle Sports bar

Thursday, 4 July 2024 06:00

By Huw Oxburgh, Local Democracy Reporter

Rother councillors have agreed to grant a licence to a new bar in Battle.

On Monday (July 1st), a Rother District Council licensing panel considered an application seeking a premises licence for Chapel Bar, a ‘sports-themed bar/restaurant’ at 54-55 High Street. 

Nick Semper, an agent representing the bar at the hearing, said:

“Anna [Stewart, the applicant] has taken a closed restaurant on the high street, has invested significantly into making it a family-friendly sports-themed restaurant … breathing new life and business into Battle.

“The overall project cost is about £250,000. She is employing seven people and she has employed a further three SIA door staff that are called down when the risk assessment requires it.”

He added:

“[This is] a quality application correctly conditioned with specific, appropriate and proportionate control measures, thus minimising any potential that any licensing objective would be undermined.”

The hearing had been called as a result of objections from three local residents, who had raised various concerns about noise disturbance and antisocial behaviour. As the hearing began, however, the panel heard how two of these objections had been withdrawn, following a change in the hours requested by the bar. 

While they did not withdraw their objection, the remaining objector did not attend the hearing.

Initially, the bar had been seeking permission to sell alcohol between 11am and 11.30pm from Sunday to Thursday and until 12.30am on Friday and Saturday nights. The bar changed its request to Monday to Sunday, 11am to 10.30pm.

The panel heard how the bar intends to submit a major variation application once it has been in operation for six months, which would allow it to extend its opening hours back to its initial proposals if approved.

Concerns around the grant of a licence had not been shared by any responsible authorities. Sussex Police had initially put forward an objection, but this was withdrawn after the applicant agreed to offer a number of additional conditions. These include the use of CCTV. 

The panel also heard how the bar has already been operating in a limited way over the past few weeks, through the use of temporary event notices. There were a number of anonymous complaints about noise and antisocial behaviour during this period, although the validity of some of these was disputed by Mrs Stewart.

Mrs Stewart, a former child minder and a licensed dog breeder, also told the panel how she was in the process of forming a pub watch scheme in Battle. She said this was prompted by an incident which took place on June 16th, when the bar screened the first England game of the Euros.

According to Mrs Stewart, a man, who she said she later learned had been barred from other drinking establishments in Battle, “attacked” a member of the bar’s door staff. She said this man has been permanently barred from the premises. 

She said:

“I want this to be something really positive for the high street and I think it will be … once we are accepted and these silly complaints stop, because we already have the licence.

“Everybody that is talking to us is saying positive things and I think it will be [positive].”

In their report on the proposals, council officers noted how the bar is in close proximity to several residential properties, including flats above its neighbours on both sides. 

But officers also noted how the property had previously been a licenced premises; a designation which only lapsed in January following the liquidation of the business which previously occupied the building.

This previous premises licence allowed for the sale of alcohol between 11.45am and 10.45pm seven days a week, with public opening hours between 10am and 11.30pm. 

After hearing all the evidence, the panel opted to grant the licence. 

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