Spread Eagle Hotel licence bid for earlier ‘brunch’ opening hours prompts noise, traffic and crime fears

The managers of a revamped Ribble Valley pub have applied for permission to allow earlier opening hours from 8am.

But the licensing variation application has raised some objections about potential noise disturbance to neighbours, traffic safety, anti-social behaviour, crime and other worries.

Greene King, the brewer and pub chain, has launched a new ‘brunch’ offering at the Spread Eagle Hotel in Mellor and submitted a licensing variation application to Ribble Valley Borough Council.

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The Spread Eagle Hotel in Mellor has submitted a licensing variation application to Ribble Valley Borough Council.

The designated premises supervisor at the pub has recently changed from Bernard Clarke to Rachael Andrews, the application states. Greene King wants earlier public opening times and earlier alcohol sales times from 8am. However, it says it expects most brunch customers to arrive around 9.30am on weekends.

Regarding earlier alcohol sales in the morning, Greene King says it wants to be able to serve drinks such as prosecco for customers celebrating special occasions.

At night, the proposed variations are minimal. The pub wants to serve alcohol until midnight on weekdays, 12.30am on Fridays and Saturdays, and 10.30pm on Sundays. Closing time would be 11pm on Sundays, which is earlier than the current time.

However, the licence variation application has prompted some objections. Three letters have been sent to Ribble Valley Council citing concerns.

One states: “Opening at 8am will attract ‘undesirable’ people from other areas for early drinking. There will be a higher risk of car theft, vandalism and accidents on the car park, drug dealers operating and congregating, and drug taking on the premises.

“There will be a higher risk of drink-driving on a road which is used for walkers, cyclists, runners and dog-walkers. There has already been one fatality on that part of Mellor Lane.”

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Another objector has written: “Sale of alcohol from 8am could be seen as a nuisance to residents. It may be that opening from 8am could be reasonable for breakfast traffic and business meetings however not for the sale of alcohol from a non-residential pub/restaurant.”

A third objector has written: “There are many cottages around the Spread Eagle that will be affected by the noise and late night traffic resulting from the extra hours. Noise has been an issue in the past. With the large outdoor areas, this will simply compound and extend the problem.”

However, an area manager for Greene King and the Spread Eagle states in a letter to licensing officer Catherine Moore: “The reason for our application is to be able to serve our recently launched brunch menu. We aim to serve from 9.30am at weekends. I hope you can agree it is not the type of menu which would attract ‘undesirables’.

“The reason for the license extension is so we are able to serve the occasional glass of prosecco to people who may be celebrating an occasion at the weekend. The recommended brunch drinks range would be very limited and would not necessarily appeal to a more mass market customer.”

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The Greene King letter adds: “The car park is monitored by CCTV and we have not had any instances of drug dealing or drug taking previously. The Spread Eagle is not the sort of pub which would attract that sort of customer and the general manager is fully aware of her responsibilities regarding intoxication and drug taking on the premises.”