A bar in Penwortham has been refused permission to extend its opening hours and host live music .
Lime Bar, on Liverpool Road, has also been told that it cannot expand an outside seating area nor install patio heaters.
The founder of the business said she just wanted “parity” with other venues in the town and told councillors that she had been subjected to a campaign by one resident who had sent 500 complaints about the bar both to her and South Ribble Borough Council.
But after an hour-long hearing, members of the authority’s planning committee rejected the application on the basis that it would “exacerbate the detrimental impact” of the business on nearby households.
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The meeting heard from councillors and residents who told the committee that nothing had changed to merit altering any of the 22 conditions imposed on the premises when the venture was first given planning permission in 2015.
The requested changes would have allowed the bar to open until 11.15pm between Sunday and Thursday - 15 minutes later than currently - and 12.15am on Fridays, which would have been an hour and a quarter extension to bring closing time in line with Saturdays.
Councillor David Howarth told members that he had never received as many complaints about a business as he had about Lime Bar - in nearly 25 years representing the town. He and fellow ward councillor David Bird claimed that the venue was already breaching existing conditions - including by supplying fried food.
“I’m not against Lime Bar. A complaint has been put in that I’m trying to close it down - I’m doing nothing of the sort. But all of the [proposed] variations to the conditions will impact on residents,” Cllr Howarth said.
“After a long, hot summer, they have at least been able to look forward to the colder months which will draw customers - and noise - inside,” he added.
But the prospect of patio heaters and an extension to the outside area where customers can congregate threatened to change all that, the meeting heard.
Lime Bar’s founder, Carole Rialas, told the committee that none of the complaints made about her business had ever led to action by the local authority. And South Ribble’s legal services manager, Dave Whelan, said that while he “wouldn’t dismiss all of the complaints, some are certainly vexatious”.
Planning officer, Janice Crook, added that the council would not always begin enforcement proceedings after reports of a breach - and said “outstanding issues” would be dealt with following the outcome of the application.
Ms. Rialas said she wanted Lime Bar, which opened last year, to be treated in the same way as other venues. “We just want parity with The Fleece Inn and St. Theresa’s club. Both are in residential areas and both have live music - and we are in the middle,” she said.
And the bar owner added that a temporary music licence granted during the Penwortham Live event had shown that the building’s soundproofing was sufficient to prevent noise being heard outside - and that the business was heping the town boom.
Lime Bar’s events manager, Imogen Suffell, said the experiment with live music had shown that the “overwhelming consensus of residents and customers is that they want more of the same”.
“By not granting the application, the progress [of the business] is up for question,” Ms. Suffell warned.
However, councillors voted unanimously to reject almost every change sought by the business. A request to allow waste collections on Saturdays was granted - but only after 10am and not 8am, as had been wanted.
South Ribble’s licensing committee had previously voted to allow the proposed extension to opening hours. However, licensing applications are judged on issues of public safety and prevention of crime and disorder - planning applications consider potential impact on residents.