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Live music and private club to boost nightlife

Frome’s nightlife has been given a boost this week after licence applications for live music at a pub and the opening of a private members’ bar were given the green light – despite concerns from people in the town.

The Griffin, in Milk Street, had asked to be allowed to host live acoustic music on Sunday afternoons, while the former curry house on the Bridge in the town centre was hoping to be granted permission to become a private members’ club.

Both applications had attracted controversy and had been deferred at previous meetings of Mendip District Council’s licensing board in Shepton Mallet.

The Griffin’s application had raised serious issues from three residents who had been concerned about noise.

Peter and Patricia Drew, and Judy Hosegood, who live opposite the pub, said they had no problem with the Griffin playing live music but were unhappy with noise levels in previous months, including around the time of the Frome Festival and at Christmas.

But regulars were angered at restrictions that were imposed at the pub after the complaints and began a campaign to get live music reinstated.

The Somerset Standard reported last month that they had collected more than 450 signatures in a petition when a noise restriction was imposed by Mendip.

The petition was started by Gaz Hutchinson, who has been going to the pub for the past seven years. He said that an 82 decibel limit imposed by the council was “ridiculous”.

But licensing sub-committee chairwoman Cllr Margaret Robinson (Con, Shepton East) said she was satisfied that as long as conditions attached to the licence – which included music ending at 11pm, all external windows being kept closed during music events and a noise management policy being submitted to the licensing authority – were adhered to, the application could be granted.

The board also voted to give permission to the members’ club – although 40 conditions have been attached to the approval, all of which must be kept for the club to keep its licence.

The applicant, Abdul Rahim, had asked to have an alcohol licence until 11.30pm from Sunday to Wednesday and 1.30am from Thursday to Saturday; to be allowed to play both live and recorded music; and to have dancing – including belly dancing – at the club.

A previous application which had included plans for lap dancing and striptease was withdrawn at the end of last month after a flood of complaints.

Although these had been removed from the new application, several residents spoke at the meeting on Tuesday to voice their concerns about other issues such as noise levels, anti-social behaviour and late-night drinking.

The police also attended with a list of conditions they wanted added to the licence application, which included a smoking and drugs policy and CCTV requirements.

Sgt Jim Waugh, of Frome’s Neighbourhood policing team, said he felt confident that if the licence was granted the policies in place would be reviewed regularly, and were meant to be a preventative measure instead of reactive.

Mr Rahim told the committee that the club would have a capacity for 60 members and that the membership fee would be £15 a year.

He added that a membership committee would be set up so that people could be vetted. Mr Rahim also told the committee there were several other licensed premises in the town that had similar opening hours as he had requested and said the establishment would be a professional set-up.

The committee said they had been mindful of residents’ concerns and taken into account the measures agreed by the police.

They added that they had decided to impose additional restrictions to assist in the promotion of the prevention of a public nuisance, and granted the application.

The club is expected to open by the autumn.

Somerset Standard article

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