German style bar told 'nein' by Preston planners over noise issues
Planning chiefs have called "time" on plans for a crowdfunded bar overlooking Preston's new University Square.
A project to turn a disused bank on the corner of Adelphi Street and Moor Lane into a "bierhaus" serving German beers and craft ales has been refused by council officers over noise issues.
The bar, to be called Bier Box, is aimed at breathing new life into a distinctive property which has been empty for the past 18 months.
But the council's environmental health department has raised concerns over noise affecting residential properties above and next door.
And because a noise impact assessment required by officers failed to answer those concerns, the plans have been thrown out.
"It is considered that the occupiers of the adjacent building would be subjected to undue noise levels arising from the use of the proposed premises," says a report by officers.
The application for a bar was submitted back in the summer by Mr Jack Wilson from Cottam. But hold-ups over noise worries delayed a decision.
Meanwhile a crowdfunding appeal to help pay for refurbishment of the former Preston Savings Bank building raised £12,799 in less than two months.
Now, unless the applicant can submit new evidence to change the council's mind, all 70 supporters who have pledged donations have been promised they will get their money back.
A statement was issued by Bier Box on social media saying the planning process has been "long, challenging and at times very opaque."
It went on: "We have a vision of opening a unique venue in a beautiful unused building in the Adelphi Quarter. We agreed heads of terms with the owner and commenced our planning application back in early June this year.
"It recently came to light that objections have been received from two neighbouring buildings and Environmental Health have requested a number of costly noise assessments and reports.
"We completed and submitted the first report in August, but two further noise assessments have since been requested. We are in the process of attempting to work with our neighbours to complete one of the assessments.
"We are still keen on creating Bier Box Preston, but only if we are able to create the venue that matches our vision.
"We remain hopeful that Preston City Council will support this project as they have indicated on several occasions that they wish to support local business and do not wish to see empty unused buildings.
"The funds raised from our successful crowdfunder campaign are ring-fenced ready to invest in the development once planning is passed. Equally, if planning is rejected then these can be refunded in full."
The bank building stands in a prime location fronting onto the £70m University Square. It operated as Preston Savings Bank until it was taken over by TSB in 1975. Its last use was as a photography store.
One of the main concerns voiced by environmental health officers is that part of the ground floor of the bank building, which will house the bar, is below a first floor flat.
The application to the council asked for opening hours of 11am to 1am, seven days a week. It also asked for pavement seating in both Adelphi Street and Moor Lane.