Council rejects Bebington bar’s late opening bid amid neighbourhood concerns

A mum said she’d be forced to leave her flat if a bar downstairs had been allowed to stay open to 1am.

The Cow Shed on Broadway in Bebington applied to have its opening hours extended to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays and to be able to sell alcohol until midnight on those days.

It said it had asked for these changes as well as extended opening hours during the week because current rules meant it was closing too early when hosting events.

However, concerns were raised by neighbours and those living on nearby streets who said since the bar opened it had caused a number of problems in the area including parking and noise.

One person said they had seen people talking loudly and swearing outside but Sam Jones who runs the bar and grill said there was no evidence to back up any of the claims put forward.

Wirral Council at a licensing committee meeting on 15 April decided to refuse the changes meaning the bar can still only serve alcohol until 10.30pm but allowed it to stay open an extra half an hour until 11.30pm for guests to finish up and leave.

Councillor James Laing said they had taken into account the fact the venue usually stops serving food around 10pm, “a lack of detail in the operating schedule,” and neighbours’ concerns but acknowledged the bar had had no official complaints.

It also reminded the bar that it did not have a licence for people to drink alcohol on the street. The bar during the meeting said customers did drink and eat outside.

At the meeting, the bar said it had not received any complaints from neighbours living above it. However Andrea Jones, a mum with two children, who lives above told the council she was “flabbergasted” the bar was looking to extend its hours saying it was “already disruptive and disrespectful” and she would look to move out as a result of an impact on her childrens’ mental health if the hours were extended.

She said, “I have nothing against the manager and his sister who have both been lovely and respectful but they are not the ones pulling the strings. There’s now live sport being shown when there wasn’t before and it’s noisy when there’s a big match on.” Katrina Sandland and Mr Jones from Cow Shed told the LDRS no one else was involved running the bar.

On New Year’s Eve, Ms Jones said she had to get a friend to take her son in for the night as the bar and grill made their flat too noisy and they “couldn’t have possibly stayed there”. To councillors, she said, “I absolutely cannot put my children through this every weekend so I hope you actually consider us when making your choice.”

In response, Mr Jones from the Cowshed said they hadn’t been told this and it was news to them stressing the bar hadn’t changed how it operates since it opened. Council officers said all representations were sent to the Cow Shed to allow them to respond to any concerns raised.

Another neighbour who said her flat was partially above the bar also claimed she had to move bedrooms due to noise levels. Another resident, Ann Lewis, claimed a customer of the bar in October had been abusive towards her son which staff had been made aware of the next day. Mr Jones said he was sorry for what happened but “found that very hard to believe”.

Mr Jones also questioned why neighbours hadn’t gone to environmental health about the noise concerns and stressed no evidence had been brought forward to show there were issues, including one resident’s claim someone had been seen having sex in the foyer. They also said there was no evidence parking problems were due to their customers.

He said the bar had not had one complaint until they applied for the longer hours, adding, “Everybody, 95% of people enjoy it. We do some really good food and drink. Everybody is happy.”

He argued those opposing the licence change were a minority against the bar, adding, “We seem to get the blame for everything.” He also said, “We do not want to fall out with anybody and our door is open.”

Ms Sandland said they were the only business in Broadway to promote a nearby car park following complaints cars were parking across driveways. She said, “It seems to be the odd resident who seems to have it out for us,” adding, “It does look a bit like sour grapes to us. Anyone is welcome to come in anytime.”

Gerry Ffrench, a neighbour, said they had no vendetta against the bar, adding, “All we want is to be able to have peace and quiet in our homes without excessive disturbance.”

Erica Snow said, “The noise will increase considerably. You do not expect people to have a drink in silence. There will be noise.”

Councillors challenged the bar suggesting it seemed “to be very dismissive” towards complaints and questioning how it engaged with people in the area. Mr Jones was also asked why he had said the police were never called to the premises despite two windows being smashed in shortly after opening. Mr Jones acknowledged the police were called after this but it was the only time.

No representations had been made by the council’s environmental health team, Merseyside Police, or any other responsible authority raising concerns about the changes.

At the same meeting, a new off-licence was approved in Rock Ferry at 214 Bebington Road in Rock Ferry. The application was opposed by two members of the public as well as Rock Ferry Labour councillors Tony Murphy and Paula Basnett. They were concerned anti-social behaviour would increase, particularly amongst young men, in the area if there were more places selling alcohol.

Robert Irvine said previously cans had been thrown at cars after drinking them, adding, “I just don’t feel there is a need for any more shops to be selling alcohol.”

Robert Jordan, who was representing the applicant, said staff would be undergoing the necessary training and had discussed the hours and any conditions with the police who raised no objections. Questions were raised about Rupinder Kaur’s experience, who will hold the licence, but ultimately councillors approved the licence.

Image: The Cow Shed. Permission for use by the LDRS.

Why not follow birkenhead.news on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to news@birkenhead.news