St Albans pub’s beer garden blocked from use after 11pm

The Crown pub

The Crown pub - Credit: Archant

Complaints about pub-goers being rowdy in a recently extended beer garden have helped stymie a bid to allow smokers to use the outside area after 11pm.

The Crown pub in Hatfield Road, St Albans, recently asked the district council for a variation to its premises licence.

A licensing sub-committee granted approval to vary the layout and design of the venue – internal reconfiguration and changes to the rear garden.

But members rejected a request for the garden to be used up until 11.30pm as a result of neighbouring residents’ complaints about additional noise.

During a four-hour-long hearing on November 5, the committee heard submissions, questions and responses in relation to the Spirit Pub Company’s application to change The Crown’s licence.

Members were told that the bid was effectively a retrospective application as the garden area has already been constructed.

Spirit Pub Company representatives said that turning the venue’s ‘redundant’ staff car park into an extended garden area would enable staff to monitor the entire premises more easily.

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It was hoped the recent refurbishment would bump up dry sales - food - by up to 40 per cent as the venue was trying to “reposition itself in the market”.

There were objections to the variation, including one Camp Road resident who said that pub-goers visiting the beer garden had disturbed locals with noise.

The objector added: “I appreciate the reasons for The Crown pub management wanting to increase their facilities in a bid to derive greater commercial gains from the property, however please consider the negative impact to local residents not only in terms of enjoyment and safety within their homes, but also the potential impact on house prices.”

But the committee was told that the extension had helped improve an ‘ugly area’ where bins were stored in public view and apparently posed a ‘security risk’.

However a pub representative apologised to residents at the hearing for the way in which the conversion was carried out without prior notice to them, adding, “We are not looking to be a nuisance – we want our neighbours to be our customers.”

After the meeting, Cllr Mal Pakenham said that creation of the new garden had effectively extended The Crown’s licensable area.

He said: “We decided that no one could go outside in the garden after 11pm. If people want a cigarette, the pub has a large area out front they can go to instead.”