Northampton pub’s bid to open longer goes ahead despite fears from nearby neighbours

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A new Northampton pub and restaurant will be allowed to stay open an extra hour throughout the week despite neighbours’ fears the later time would lead to noise and disruption.

The Sunnyside pub in Boughton Green Road, used to be a popular drinking spot with students until it closed down in September.

Brewery company Marston’s PLC bought the venue from Greene King and at the end of November opened it again as a Generous George family restaurant and pub, complete with play equipment and a pizza counter.

The new owners originally applied to allow opening hours on a Friday and Saturday to be extended to 1.30am, but the move met with objections from nearby residents, who said the previous pub had proved a nuisance at kicking out time with regular incidents of noise and vandalism.

But yesterday a licensing committee hearing allowed Marston’s to open until 12.30am throughout the week except for Sunday, which will be restricted to 11.30pm.

The pub firm’s solicitor Michelle Hazelwood said the previous opening hours were too “restrictive” and left those people and meant people ordering food as late as 10pm were being “rushed” out of the venue.

She said: “This is not a nightclub, this is not a traditional pub, this is all about families who want to dine.”

Anthony Watts, appearing on behalf of residents in the area had called for opening hours to be restricted to 11.30pm, which he said was “quite late enough”.

He disputed some of the claims that the Generous George was aiming to be an entirely family pub as a Facebook post advertising its ticketed New Year’s Eve event this year invited guests to “come along and have a drink and a dance”.

While Marston’s claimed that only 30 per cent of its trade was made up of drinkers, Mr Watts said residents there were naturally anxious about the extended opening hours because they had put up with years of disruption under previous owners.

“We have had tyre screeching in the past, people drinking in their cars. One woman has had no end of vandalism in her garden,” Mr Watts added.

As part of the licence agreement, Marston’s has agreed to keep bollards on the car park and exterior signs calling on people leaving the pub to keep noise low.