Two micropubs in Chorley have been criticised for opening without planning permission – but only one of them will be forced to shut.
The Pride of Aggi on Babylon Lane in Adlington and JR’s Ale House, less than a mile away on Church Road, were both refused permission in December.
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Chorley Council’s development control committee heard fresh applications from both businesses, but members were first keen to condemn the fact that the pair had already begun pint-pulling.
Committee member Paul Walmsley said it was “annoying and disrespectful” when applicants did not wait either for the outcome of appeals or revised applications before they started trading.
Fellow councillor Alan Morwood described it as “a ploy”.
“It allows them to test the water with their neighbours, but I’m not sure I approve. We should keep an eye out to ensure this does not become a regular thing,” he said.
Planning officers once again recommended that Pride of Aggi – which was given the green light by the council’s licensing committee last year – should be refused the planning permission which it also requires.
A report to the committee raised concerns about controlling noise from the mid-terrace property and also people congregating in a smoking shelter at the rear of the building – although no complaints had been made since the premises opened in December.
Operator Darren Tickle said that was because of the soundproofing which had been installed at the venue and the fact that alcohol was not allowed to be taken outside.
“The voice of the locals is that the bar is professionally and safely run and much-needed,” Mr. Tickle said.
But committee member Martin Boardman said the new application didn’t give “any new evidence” to justify reversing the earlier refusal. The bar – which is licensed until 12.30am on Fridays and Saturdays – will be served with an enforcement notice later this week.
Meanwhile, councillors were told that the JR’s Ale House application had been significantly revised since it was first made, with closing time moved from a proposed 10pm to 7pm and the removal of an outside smoking shelter.
Owner Michael Ross said he had worked with planning officers to address previous concerns about noise emanating from the end terrace property.
Cllr Walmsley said that while he was “still disappointed” that the business was already trading, the latest application was for a venue more akin to a “cafe culture”.
But fellow committee member, Alan Whittaker, said he failed to see any difference between the proposal and the one which had been rejected minutes earlier.
“When people bought the adjoining property, they didn’t know they’d have a drinking establishment next to them,” he said.
However, the committee ultimately granted permission for the bar, which has a seating area on the first floor and microbrewery and cafe located in the basement.