Ponteland residents lose licensing battle

RESIDENTS in a Ponteland housing estate have suffered a blow in their campaign to prevent a bar and bistro from opening just yards from where they live.

The decision on whether the application from Newco (Ponteland) Ltd for a two-storey bar and restaurant in Bell Villas will go ahead now rests on a planning inspector after a Northumberland County Council Licensing Sub-Committee awarded the company a premises licence.

A total of 15 people from neighbouring properties opposed the bid, along with Ponteland Town Council, Civic Society and Methodist Church.

Their concerns include potential noise disturbance from music and waste disposal operations and nuisance from what they believe is inadequate parking facilities in the area.

Charles Cross and his wife Jo, who live in Ryehaugh, are within 15 metres of the back wall of the building.

Despite learning that the company would not allow customers to drink outdoors following the removal of patio areas from its plans, they still urged the committee to reject the application.

Mr Cross said: “If this bar is allowed to open, it will cause a serious degradation to the amenity of local residents.

“We are already putting up with noise and smells from the nearby New Rendezvous restaurant and this will make things worse.”

Fellow Ryehaugh resident Leona Anderson added that there are already parking problems in the area with cars parking on their street and even on Callerton Lane, one of Ponteland’s main roads.

But solicitor Mark Ward, representing Newco, said: “This application should only be based on real evidence rather than assumptions, and no evidence has been presented to the committee.”

He added that there were several other licensed premises nearby and there had been no objections from the police or county council.

The bar and bistro cannot open yet as planning permission was refused by the authority’s west area planning committee in February.

Newco has lodged an appeal, so the matter will be determined by the Planning Inspectorate.

After the hearing, Mr Cross said the residents hoped the inspector would make a site visit before coming to a decision.