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PONTCANNA BAR: Banned from staying open later

PONTCANNA BAR: Banned from staying open later

Image: LDRS

A gin bar in Cardiff has been barred from staying open later after neighbours complained of noisy customers.

CFEleven in Cathedral Road applied for permission to serve alcohol and let customers drink in its garden until 11.30pm from Thursday to Saturday.

The bar applied to Cardiff council for four temporary event notices covering four weeks in April and May. These would have let the bar and its garden stay open later than is presently allowed.

But the council’s licensing committee refused to grant permission after concerns were raised about the impact of noisy customers on nearby neighbours.

Jason Hamer, who runs CFEleven, said he wanted the extra hours in the garden to allow for customers to drink outside while Covid rules prevent drinking inside.

He told the licensing committee the bar would close at about 10.15pm after which customers could gradually leave when they finished their last drinks.

Mr Hamer said: “We’re unable to open indoors. At the moment the garden closes at 9pm Sundays to Thursdays and 10pm Fridays and Saturdays. If we closed at 10pm it could create a Covid bottleneck with everyone trying to get out at the same time.

“I feel it would be a safer environment. There would be less noise from people leaving over a period of time than a group of people leaving all at one time.”

But licensing law means that a premises licence or temporary event notice can serve alcohol until the final hour listed, in this case 11.30pm. The law then allows for a “drinking-up time” afterwards when customers can finish their drinks before leaving, usually about 30 minutes.

Because the applied-for hours were so late officers from the council’s environmental health team said there could be a risk that people living in the flats next door to the gin bar would suffer from noisy conversations during peak times for up to six hours a day on four days in a row.

The council had asked Mr Hamer to hire an acoustic consultant following a noise complaint from a neighbour. The consultant would have advised the gin bar on how to limit noise escaping the venue and affecting neighbours. But the bar didn’t hire an acoustic consultant.

Mr Hamer said: “We had signs up in the garden asking people to keep the noise to a minimum. I’m very aware we have neighbours in the lane behind us. We’re trying to manage it the best we can.

“I don’t know what you can do apart from putting big walls up on the back. But with Covid you need at least 51% of a marquee open for safety. It is quite a contained marquee.”

Pubs in Wales will soon be allowed to re-open after several months of Covid restrictions. But they will initially only be allowed to open outdoors with no drinking inside. This is because the risk of spreading coronavirus is much less outdoors than indoors.

Words: Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporter


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