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News Archive > General > Disorder fears over new bar plans

Disorder fears over new bar plans

By Warren Wilkins 17th January 2018

Disorder fears over new bar plans
The vacant unit at the Ark is being mooted as a new bar.

CONTENTIOUS plans to open a bar in the remaining unit in Newquay’s restaurant hub have received a barrage of opposition following concerns patrons could cause a disturbance.

Monmouth Properties, the owner of the Ark development in East Street, has submitted change of use of the unit from restaurants and cafes to a drinking establishment after Cornish brewery Harbour Brewing showed a strong interest in establishing a bar there.

But the police, Newquay Town Council, Newquay Central Cornwall councillor Geoff Brown and residents are opposed to the plans despite the unit (right) being empty for more than four years since it was built, primarily due to concerns the use of its outdoor seating area could increase crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour.

Fears have also been raised that people living in nearby residential streets, including Island Crescent, Trebarwith Crescent and the two nearby residential care homes, would be disturbed by noise from customers leaving the bar.

Martin Mumford, the Police Designing Out Crime Officer, states the police would support the change of use planning application if the outdoor seating area is removed from being part of the unit, while Cllr Brown believes its removal would address “most” of people’s concerns.
Cornwall Council is due to make a decision on the planning application. Cllr Brown has called for the scheme to be decided by committee if the planning officer is minded to give their support.

Mr Mumford said: “Last year a planning application allowed further external seating within a defined space on the southern side of the building. This is within the main public footway.

“Police did not object to this application but we now feel that, given the proposed change of use, that use of this external space is no longer appropriate.

“One crucial difference which must be considered is that those using restaurants will almost invariably sit to eat their food. Those frequenting drinking establishments, especially so in larger groups, are much more likely to stand.

“We therefore feel it likely that if groups of customers are allowed to drink in this location they would naturally spill out on the wider pavement space.

“This would invariably lead to obstruction and disruption of the footway for other members of the public and possible confrontation and disorder. It may in practical terms be very difficult for staff to try and prevent this and keep people safely within this ‘designated space’. This will not be helped by the fact that staff would appear to have little if any natural surveillance over this space. So in reality they would not be able to keep an eye on any incidents or developing situations.

“It must be emphasised that this is a change of principal use from an eating to a drinking venue. I think it is widely accepted that drinking establishments whatever their nature do frequently generate more issues relating to crime, disorder and antisocial behaviour than restaurants usually simply because of the greater alcohol consumption.

“In summary, police are only able to support this change of use if the identified external space on East Street is removed by suitable planning condition or other appropriate mechanism.”

Newquay Town Council’s planning committee voted to object to the plans. A spokesman said: “Members recognised the concerns of Devon and Cornwall Police in that the plot currently has permission for an outside seating area. Whereas this wouldn’t be an issue with a restaurant, this could become a significant issue with a drinking establishment in that patrons would be drinking and spilling out onto the footway, causing an obstruction to pedestrians and vehicles.

“The proposal would also encourage the public to congregate around the local area and outside spaces, increasing the likelihood of crime and disorder in this area which at present does not have any drinking establishment of a similar scale.”

Resident Andrew Earnshaw, who lives in Trebarwith Crescent, said: “I object to the granting of a licence for a bar in an area that is currently served by shops, cafes and restaurants and residential housing.

“Newquay bars are by their nature loud, especially in the summer. This is very near an old people’s home, a residential care home and family residential streets. When the Ark was built it was always going to be restaurants only for this reason.

“The noise from customers leaving the bar would be intolerable for the old people’s home residents. Having already given them public toilets on their doorstep, surely the council will not add a bar to this?

“A bar here would link up the two areas of town with bars and bring the night-time economy into an area currently outside these zones.

“It will allow others to make applications and push Newquay back to where it has started to move away from. It is not just outdoor seating I object to but to it being a bar at all in this location.

“The family restaurants had created a better image of Newquay in a key area, but this would be a step back to the bad old days.

“Noise from the Tram Tracks would be increased and so effect all living along the right side of Trebarwith Crescent. We already have problems with people urinating in the lane behind our houses and this is likely to make it worse.”

Resident Lynn Davidson, who also lives in Trebarwith Crescent, added: “I strongly object to the change of use of the property.

“Firstly, as residents we were always assured that the development at the end of our road would be a restaurant complex – “the culinary heart of Newquay” – not a bar.

“When the Ark was built it was always going to be restaurants only for this reason. Newquay does not need another bar and Newquay doesn’t need a return to this image and lived reality, especially at the heart of the town and next to families, care homes and the elderly. It is an unacceptable proposition.”

By Warren Wilkins 17th January 2018

Steve Thomas 19th January 2018 19:50
Why were they allowed to build it in the first place without a guaranteed use?
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