Calling time on the bizarre case of the Penwortham bar with different opening hours to drinking times

A popular bar looks set to open longer after planning officers admitted its opening hours and drinking times don't match.

By Brian Ellis
Friday, 4th February 2022, 4:34 pm

GinJarAle in Penwortham has applied to South Ribble Council for permission to extend its business hours to fall into line with its drinks licence.

And the council's planning committee is expected to agree when it considers the anomaly next week.

If accepted the bar, in Liverpool Road, will gain an extra half hour on all nights apart from Friday when opening hours will be extended by 90 minutes. Sunday morning opening will also be allowed at 11am instead of noon.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

GinJarAle on Penwortham's main street has asked for longer opening hours.

The changes follow strict conditions imposed on GinJarAle by the planning committee when it opened its doors in December 2019.

Bizarrely the council's licensing committee introduced slightly different drinking times to the bar's opening hours.

The biggest inconsistency came when the planning committee said GinJarAle should close at 11pm on a Friday, while it had a licence to serve alcohol until midnight.

The council claims the bar stuck to the more favourable licensing committee version, meaning longer opening hours, until planning enforcement officers stepped in.

Councillors have been advised to allow an extension of hours to correct an anomaly.

A report by officers, which will be presented to the planning committee on Thursday, says: "The GinJarAle were operating to the licensing hours.

"During investigation by planning enforcement into the breach following a complaint, Legal Services advised that the more restrictive hours, ie those imposed by the planning condition, must be complied with.

"Since this advice, the operators of the GinJarAle premises have complied with the planning hours and (now) seek to vary the hours.

"The applicant advised (us) that they received two different opening/operating hours from planning and licensing which caused some confusion."

The owners of the bar told council officers that while it had been operating on the licensing committee hours "customers made staggered exists throughout the night, especially from 11pm onwards, which resulted in little to no outside noise, disturbance from congregating customers waiting outside for taxis rather than inside.

"So now, as No 16 On The Hill (literally two doors down) also have to comply to these hours we have in effect two establishments at capacity all being made to exit onto the street at 11pm with our doors locked behind them. Surely this isn’t in the interests of nearby residents.

"We have never received any complaints regarding closing time noise so have obviously managed this extremely well."

The officer's report goes on: "It is considered that, as the GinJarAle premises has been operating to the licensing hours for some time without substantial complaint (just two received), the need to bring planning and licensing in line with each other to avoid confusion and the limited extended time of opening proposed, it is considered acceptable."

If approved, the bar's opening hours will be amended to 11am to 11:30pm Sunday to Thursday and 11am to 12:30 on Friday and Saturday.