A micropub in Leyland has been given the go-ahead to expand after councillors said they were not concerned about the proposal generating additional noise in the area.
The operator of the Market Ale House on Hough Lane was seeking permission to knock through into the former Galloways Bakers premises next door.
South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee had been recommended to delegate the final decision to the authority’s planning boss, pending the outcome of a noise assessment requested by the district’s own environmental health officers.
However, committee members approved the proposal outright after warning that the requirement risked placing an unfair financial burden on the business.
The meeting heard that a noise assessment could cost around £1,500 – and several councillors questioned why it was necessary when the expanded hostelry was operating in a town centre location.
“I’m struggling to understand [why], when we’re on the main high street of South Ribble, we’re asking for a noise assessment,” said Cllr Will Adams.
“Residents haven’t raised concerns [and] I think if there is something we can do a planning committee in terms of supporting businesses – particularly at this difficult time – I think we should be doing that.”
Fellow committee member James Flannery warned that there had been “a bit of inconsistency” in recommendations about noise and opening hours across different applications in the borough and said that local businesses wanted “fairness”.
However, Cllr Mary Green cautioned against creating a “free for all” by removing the demand for a noise assessment.
“Usually, these drinking establishments start emptying their bottles into the bins [after closing]…and it could tend to bother people late at night,” she said.
The meeting was told that the request from environmental health was initially prompted by a plan to open the expanded premises until 1am six nights a week. However, permission was actually granted subject to a condition requiring the business to keep its current hours of 11am – 11.30pm every day, with the exception of New Year’s Eve and other occasions agreed with the council when it will be permitted to operate until 1.30am.
The enlarged unit will accommodate extra seating and a stage area at ground floor level and a new kitchen and toilet facilities upstairs, extending into what was formerly a flat above the bakery. An expanded outdoor seating area will also be created at the venue, which opened its doors in December 2013.