Licensing hours extended for St Albans pub despite residents’ concerns

The White Swan

The White Swan - Credit: Archant

Despite the concerns of neighbours, the playing of music, sales of alcohol and the opening times of a city centre pub have been extended.

Earlier this month, a St Albans council licensing sub-committee agreed to extend the hours at The White Swan in Upper Dagnall Street, St Albans.

The decision was taken in the face of concerns from nearby residents about the impact on their lives.

One objector said: “Later hours with this level of music would be unacceptable to residents.

“It would prevent sleep and cause disturbance later into the night, particularly during the week when people need to get up early for school/work.”

A family man who lives nearby, commented: “The loud music from the pub bounces off buildings and echoes along Spencer Street.

“This is a particular problem when there is a heavy base sound from live drumming which creates a pounding beat.

Most Read

“Personally the noise effects my two children that are still only babies and go to bed before 7pm.”

The sub-committee agreed a change to licensing conditions which would result in alcohol being sold until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and until midnight from Sunday to Thursday, an hour more on the weekdays and an hour and a half more on Sundays.

Live music performances can now go on until 1am on a Friday and Saturday - two hours later than at present.

Recorded tunes can now be played until midnight on Sundays through to Thursday, and 2am on Friday and Saturday.

Patrons can also now visit until 2.30am on Friday and Saturday or 12.30am other days, half an hour after alcohol sales have stopped.

On Bank Holiday Sundays, the opening hours are also extended to 2.30am.

Maria Stagg, St Albans council’s deputy head of legal, democratic and regulatory services, said: “A number of conditions were attached [to the extension] including a requirement to employ door supervisors at the weekend.

“The committee made its decisions based on the law and all the evidence put before it including concerns raised by some local residents.”

In the notice of determination, reasons for the change include recognising the licensing regime “is not intended to inhibit the development of a thriving night time economy” and noting the pub had “voluntarily reduced the hours applied for”.

It also says the committee deliberately did not approve an extension for Bank Holiday Mondays as it is followed by a working day.

John McGuinness, 59, landlord of The White Swan, said: “I worked with the police and St Albans district council in the application, and it was approved, and we will continue to work with the police to balance the needs of the residents with the right to have an active nightlife.

“I have spoken with some of the local people who objected and we are willing to go along with what they want because I don’t want to upset anybody and we will do everything we can to work with them.

“I run a very strict pub with regards to who comes in and when they come in and it won’t be used as a fall-out from other pubs.”

He emphasised that patrons would now leave in small groups spread out over a longer period of time, rather than everybody leaving together at an earlier time.