Concern over plans to extend Baldock pub hours

A LANDLORD’S plan to extend his pub’s opening hours has been met with opposition from residents.

North Herts District Council’s licensing and appeals committee will consider the application by Rob Scahill, landlord of The Orange Tree on Norton Road in Baldock, when it meets on February 6.

The pub currently opens at 11am Monday to Saturday and at midday on Sunday. Mr Scahill wants permission to open at 8am every day, and to close at 2.30am on Fridays and Saturdays, instead of at 1.30am.

If the new licence is granted, Mr Scahill will also be able to play music from 11am till midnight Monday to Thursday, 11am till 1am on Fridays and Saturdays and 11am till midnight on Sundays. The current licence only permits music to be played on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Residents living nearby are concerned the new proposals will increase noise and anti-social behaviour in the area.

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“Not only will there be an increase in noise nuisance, but it also follows that there is a strong possibility of rowdy groups leaving the pub at unsocial hours, disturbing the peace, as well as vandalism and litter,” said a Norton Crescent resident.

A resident of The Sycamores added: “Residents already suffer greatly from the existing permitted licence, with associated noise related disturbance.”

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A number of Pond Lane residents have said they are already victims of anti-social behaviour, fearing it will only get worse. Incidents cited include eggs and rocks being thrown, graffiti being scrawled on property walls, people urinating in a resident’s garden and a window being smashed.

Some residents have even said they may be forced to move if the licence is given the green light.

“It would be really heartbreaking to leave, but the sure and steady encroachment and nuisance from this pub has affected our way of life beyond imagination and may indeed lead us to sell up and move on,” said a resident of The Sycamores.

However, there are some people in support of Mr Scahill’s plans. A Pembroke Road resident, for instance, said: “Meeting places like The Orange Tree play an important part in bringing the community together, providing space for groups to meet and providing inexpensive dining in a difficult economic climate.”

Mr Scahill said: “All we want is the facility to open late if we want to.

“On the music side, there will be a noise limiter which the council will manage. It will cut off any sound if it breaches a set level.

“If there’s a band on, all the doors will be shut after 8pm, and no one will be allowed in the beer garden after 11pm.”

He added: “We have gone over and above what the pub owner Greene King would normally do to make sure people have peace.”

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