A St Neots cocktail bar can open into the early hours of the morning on a Friday and Saturday, despite concern over potential 'poor customer behaviour'.

Huntingdonshire District Council granted the No.6 Bistro and Cocktail Bar, located on New Street, its new licence for extended hours at a licensing and sub-committee meeting on October 6.

Some had raised concerns about the impact of the longer hours, including around litter and allegations of anti-social behaviour.

A representative of the bar refuted the claims made and highlighted that the police had not raised any concerns over anti-social behaviour.

The bar had applied to the district council to be able to sell alcohol and play music until 3 am on Friday and Saturday nights.

However, following discussions with police, the bar agreed to reduce this request to playing music until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights and to sell alcohol until 2.30am on Friday and Saturday nights.

'Great concerns' raised by St Neots Museum

At the meeting, trustees of the neighbouring St Neots Museum raised their concerns about the changes.

Elizabeth St Hill Davies said there were "great concerns" around litter, illegal parking, anti-social behaviour, vomiting, broken glass, and public urination.

She said: "Poor behaviour is a regular occurrence outside the premises, and if the application to vary the licence is successful, it will allow that behaviour to continue."

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Mike Fletcher, chair of the museum trustees, said: "From a trustee's perspective, our aim is to support our volunteers and staff as best we can.

"To see the amount of litter and the requirement of our people to clear the forecourt after a weekend, I think it was required of me to come here and object to what I see as worsening the situation by extending the hours of opening.

"The main thing that has caused my attention other than the state of our forecourt is around car parking.

"We have had numerous issues with cars being parked on our forecourt, and this is not an issue from other premises, we know these cars are being parked there by suppliers or staff of the restaurant, and despite assurances, that is still continuing.

"I went along last weekend and the weekend before, and there are still cars being parked on our forecourt without any request to do so, and we have had assurances it would stop, and it has not."

No statutory concerns raised

Frank Fender, the licensing agent representing the bar, highlighted that none of the statutory authorities, including the police, had raised any concerns about the application.

He also questioned how the objectors could be certain the people parking on the museum forecourt and littering were customers of the bar.

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Mr Fender said: "Comments that No.6 use the forecourt at the museum are refuted, this area is completely open, there is nothing to stop any person walking on that footpath.

"Therefore, any littering could be anyone walking past and not necessarily, as alleged, by customers from No.6 Bistro.

"No6. use security staff Friday and Saturday who discourage people from standing on the museum side of the premises.

"I will say that the licence holder ordered new barriers that they intend to use Friday and Saturday rather than using bins as a barrier at the end of the alleyway. They will be removed and put back inside No.6 at the end of the day's trading.

"The applicant does understand there is a degree of littering in the alleyway and will, therefore, instruct staff to clear this area of litter at the end of each night."

After considering the application in private, the sub-committee councillors announced they would grant the licence application to extend the hours to those agreed with police.

The chair of the sub-committee, Councillor Clare Tevlin, also set out additional conditions to be imposed, including requiring a managed smoking area to be in operation from 6pm to closing for a litter sweep to be undertaken around the bar after closing and for the bar to ensure the outside area is "left in a clean and tidy condition".

Cllr Tevlin said: "The agreed reduced amount of hours together with additional conditions should be sufficient that the premises operations are within the law.

"It is noted that should there be any tangible evidence provided any breaches conditions, naturally licence at any time can be reviewed leading to any subsequent sanctions deemed appropriate as a result."