Battle over Winterbourne pub's bid for live music in beer garden

August 26 2021
Battle over Winterbourne pub's bid for live music in beer garden

A WINTERBOURNE pub has been given permission to open its beer garden later every night.

But councillors turned down an application to stage live music outside the George & Dragon, after neighbours said it would make their lives a "living hell".

The pub on Winterbourne Hill has had to clear its garden by 10pm every night since having its 2am weekend licence revoked in 2009, after police reported trouble from large groups of drinkers shouting obscenities, slamming car doors and urinating in the early hours.

But current landlady Georgina Harris said there had been no issues since she took over ten years ago.

She told a South Gloucestershire licensing hearing on August 17 that she currently had to battle with customers to get them inside at 10pm, and had lost some of them because of it.

Mrs Harris applied to use the beer garden until 11pm, and to be able to have bands and play recorded music outside until that time on Mondays to Thursdays, until 12.30am on Fridays and Saturdays and until 10.30pm on Sundays.

She also applied to sell alcohol to take away until 11pm, the time currently allowed under temporary covid rules.

Six people wrote letters in support, saying the pub was well-run, had a family atmosphere and had helped the community through difficult times.

But 27 residents objected, saying noise from the garden would keep them and their children awake at night, and disturb home and shift workers during the day.

They said off sales could lead to litter and extra cars, worsening an already “horrendous” parking situation.

The meeting heard that the pub, which can take about 200 people in the garden and up to 100 inside, was in a quiet residential area.

In the past year, the council has received one complaint about noise from the pub garden but an inspection found the pub fully complied with licensing regulations.

Speaking on behalf of residents, Louise Mowbray, who has lived on Dragon Road near the pub for 20 years, said: “The provision of live music will turn the lives of residents into a living hell.

It effectively licences a nightclub, an external nightclub, in a village setting.

The residents I have been talking to have been talking about moving away if this goes through.”

Other residents who objected acknowledged that Mrs Harris was a “strong” landlady who kept noise to “reasonable” levels under the current licence.

Peter Crossman, whose bedroom overlooks the pub car park, said: “They run a great pub.”

Mrs Harris said she mainly wanted to be able to use the pub garden past 10pm.

She said: “When you have got to try and tell people when it’s a lovely sunny evening ‘you need to be inside now’, it’s a massive argument. 

"It’s not like any other pub and I don’t think it’s fair. 

"I want my garden like a normal pub’s garden. It’s not so much about the music. If you said the music had to stop at 11 o’clock I’d be happy with that.”

Mrs Harris said she would only want live bands in the garden “once a month, in the summer, if that”.

Recorded music would come from small speakers with a noise limit, she said.

The application was in the name of former landlord Steve Fionda, who still holds the licence.

He said Mrs Harris always stuck to the rules, adding: "She’s known in Winterbourne as the Iron Lady. She don’t have no rubbish in there."

Councillors gave permission for the pub to play recorded music outdoors from 11am to 11pm, seven days a week, but refused to allow live music in the garden.

Alcohol off-sales are permitted until 11pm.

The committee said a noise limiter must be installed to control the volume of music outside.

By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service