Northampton social club will be 'sensible' to appease neighbour concerns

Neighbours had concerns over people smoking outside their house
Neighbours had concerns over people smoking outside their house

A Northampton social club has said it will be ‘sensible’ and do its best to protect neighbours from noise as it bids to extend the premises.

The Turkish Social Club in Henry Street has applied for planning permission for a ground floor extension and to convert its disused basement into an area to play pool and other sports.

Yesterday morning (August 15) the club was granted a licence to continue activities such as the sale of alcohol once the extension is built. It is yet to have planning permission though, and so the new premises licence will only be applicable once planners have approved the scheme.

One neighbour had objected to the licence being awarded due to problems with ‘litter and smoking’.

The resident says: "We are at a point where we have to close our living room window because people loiter outside our house smoking. On a weekly basis we have to sweep outside our house because people have left litter."

But speaking at the Northampton Borough Council licensing sub-committee hearing this morning John Birch, on behalf of the social club, said: "We’re intending to move the entrance and would like to build an extension to provide an open terrace for smoking. We are moving the smoking area quite a long way from Henry Street.

"You will have read the letter of objection from a resident, and there has been a problem with smoking. We believe our application can improve the premises commercially and address any difficulties written about in the letter.

"The letter mentions littering and I agree, that’s a problem too and we can sharpen up on that."

Councillor Graham Walker, who sits on the committee, raised concerns that the current licence allowed the sale of alcohol until 2am, but he was told by council solicitors that they would not be able to alter the opening hours at the hearing.

But Mr Birch added: "While we could stay open until 2am, I don’t see this opening until then.

"We have to be sensible with our neighbours. In reality this club sells more Turkish tea than it does beer. It’s a gathering place and the sale of alcohol is minimal and it’s not a loud night premises."

The Turkish Club and its applicant, Mr Cahit Menekse, were granted the licence which will apply to the extension if it’s given planning approval.

It was, however, subject to conditions that state staff should monitor the smoking area, and signs should be put up urging visitors to be quiet and respectful of neighbours. The signs will be written in both English and Turkish.

The club had already agreed to conditions requested by the council’s environmental health team that the proposed smoking area should not be used after 11pm on any day, and that doors and windows should all shut by that time too.

Should the premises be given planning approval as well, further conditions may be added.