Bushel and strife

AN APPLICATION to extend the licensing hours of a pub has received strong opposition from nearby residents. The Bushel and Strike in Mill Street, Ashwell, currently stops serving alcohol at 11pm on Mondays to Saturdays and 10.30pm on Sundays, with 20 minu

AN APPLICATION to extend the licensing hours of a pub has received strong opposition from nearby residents.

The Bushel and Strike in Mill Street, Ashwell, currently stops serving alcohol at 11pm on Mondays to Saturdays and 10.30pm on Sundays, with 20 minutes supping up time.

The application is to extend licensing hours to 12.30am on Sundays to Thursdays and 1.30am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Including the suggested 30-minute drinking up time, this means the pub will stay open until 1 or 2am - an extension of almost three hours on some nights.

North Herts District Council's licensing and appeals committee has received 21 representations, from residents living close to the pub, strongly opposing the proposal.

Residents have complained that, even under current opening hours, they have to listen to "loud music, people shouting, children screaming, cars accelerating away and rowdy customers".

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Over a period of time, one Mill Street resident has found his wife's car roof slashed, urine sprayed up his front door, beer bottles on his doorstep and his kitchen window smashed.

And he blames the pub's customers for this.

A resident of Gardiners Lane said: "We have tolerated things as they are but that often means that the noise is so loud that in the summer with the windows open it is like having a band playing in my living room."

Another resident of Gardiners Lane said: "It cannot possibly be right to allow what is a really bad situation to be made much worse by a licence extension.

"Ashwell is an entirely inappropriate place for developing the 'night-time leisure economy.'"

Landlord of the pub, Mark Stier, said: "I think a lot of the residents' fears are not going to come to light.

"I'm really only applying for this late licence because the other two pubs in the area have them.

"We hold some late night functions and it saves us the headache of asking for a late licence every time.

"It would be at my discretion when the pub will be open late but it won't be every night. It's not going to turn into a night club."

The council's environmental protection team has made a recommendation to the committee, who meet on Monday, to reject the proposal.

They are concerned that part of the Licensing Act 2003 may be breached - prevention of public nuisance - due to the proximity of the pub to local residential properties.