Council officials offer compromise in row over extended opening hours for hall

Huntingdonshire District Council

Huntingdonshire District Council - Credit: Archant

Council officials have recommended approval for plans to allow a hall in Huntingdon formerly used by Masonic lodges to have its opening hours extended – despite objections from neighbours.

In a report set to go before Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management panel on Monday, planning officials say that a compromise can be reached to protect neighbours of the Priory, in High Street, and allow the business to extend its hours and play music.

Abdus Subhan was granted planning permission in August last year to convert the Priory into a café/bar with a function room.

Up until May, the Priory was used as a meeting room for Huntingdon’s Masonic lodges, which have since moved to the Ermine Business Park.

Permission was also granted for a bar to be open from 5-11pm Monday to Saturday, and 4-10pm on Sunday.

However, in October, a fresh planning application was submitted requesting alterations to the planning conditions granted in August.

Under the plans, it was requested that the bar be allowed to operate from 11am-midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and 11am-2am on Friday and Saturday.

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It was also requested that music be allowed to play throughout licensing hours and that a recycling and refuse area within the boundary of the property be allowed for waste disposal.

Neighbours of the hall were unhappy with the application, however, claiming that the residential amenity of neighbours would be “seriously affected” if plans were approved.

In consultation with the council, Huntingdon Town Council said: “Members felt that the variations would have an adverse affect on neighbouring residents’ quality of life, due to the loud music, risk of noise from late night customers, food waste smells, and littering.

“Particular issues were highlighted concerning the wellbeing of dementia patients in

Cromwell Nursing Home, where any loud noise or strangers can cause great distress.”

But planners at the district council believe a compromise can be reached by limiting the extended opening hours to midnight on Friday and Saturday and by making the venue subject to strict noise conditions, when music is playing.

The final decision still rests with councillors however, who could either back the planning officer’s recommendation or refuse the plans.