Micro-bar plans resurface as Bamber Bridge restaurant looks to boost its business
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The WA Bar and Bistro, at the junction of Station Road and Spinners Square in Bamber Bridge, wants to switch its priority from eating to drinking due to the tough economic climate.
The application comes four years after owners, the Withy Arms Group, were refused permission to open the former Gone Fishing tackle shop as a micro-bar. The case went to appeal and was also thrown out by a planning inspector over concerns about noise.
The company was subsequently successful with a plan to open the premises as a licensed bistro and has been operating since December 2019. Now it is looking to return to the micro-bar idea, arguing it will not result in any increased nuisance to neighbours.
A planning statement issued on behalf of the owners asking for a change of use says: "In the current economic climate, the applicant is, not unreasonably, seeking to secure the financial viability of the business and wishes to apply for planning permission to change the use of the building from bistro to drinking establishment. The subtle difference being that its main function can then be drinks service with food ancillary to that function.
"The change requested allows the property to trade also, effectively, as a micro pub simply alongside its current business model. There are to be no changes to the internal or external appearance of the building. There are no plans to alter in any way the hours of opening."
If the application is passed, planning officers will almost certainly demand additional noise insulation measures are carried out to reduce the risk of disturbing neighbours in an adjoining house. A report from an acoustics expert, presented with application, highlights defects in an adjoining wall and ceiling which would need to be addressed.
The company Sound Advice has recommended a number of measures which, if carried out, would reduce the noise levels and make it "most unlikely that the use of the new micro-pub will cause any significant noise nuisance to the existing residents of Spinners Square."
In its application the Withy Arms Group says: "The proposal will not create any noise additional to its existing bistro use." It says that the current conditions restricting noise at the bistro could remain in force for a bar. These include signs at the entrance and exit advising patrons to leave quietly and respect local residents, noise checks by staff on the outside seating area and, if music is played after 11pm all doors and windows must be closed.
It adds: "A noise-limiting device shall be installed in the premises and used whenever regulated entertainment is taking place after the hours of 11pm. The noise limiting device will be set at a level that meets the requirements and agreement of the licence holder and Environmental Health Officer."
The micro-bar's intended opening hours would be 10am to 1am on Mondays to Saturdays and 10am to midnight on Sundays and bank holidays.