Stamford Town Council calls for ‘level playing field’ for pub

Stamford Town Hall

Stamford Town Hall

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Town councillors have called on their district colleagues to create a “level playing field” for a pub chain as it tries to open a new venue.

South Kesteven District Council imposed strict opening hour restrictions when it approved JD Wetherspoon’s application to move into the Mercury office in Sheep Market, Stamford.

The council said the new pub could only open from 8am to 11.30pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 11pm on Sundays.

But the pub chain has applied to change the conditions to 8am to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 8am to 1pm Fridays and Saturdays to match neighbouring establishments.

Stamford Town Council’s planning committee considered the new application on Tuesday and voted to recommend the district council approve the changes.

Committee chairman Harrish Bisnauthsing (LibDem) said: “The committee fully supports JD Wetherspoon. I think we should have a level playing field.

“You can’t have one pub directly opposite that can open until 1am and have Wetherspoon’s close at 11pm.

“What’s good for one is good for the other. We fully support the application for the new hours.”

Along with the new application the pub chain has also appealed the initial planning approval.

The appeal document claims the restriction on opening hours is “unnecessary and unreasonable” and contrary to planning guidelines.

It adds: “The appellant accepts that the beer garden should be restricted but does not agree the public house itself should be similarly restricted.

“There is no empirical evidence to support the council’s position.”

The document goes on to say the condition would put the viability of the pub under threat.

The current opening times were suggested by council planning officers to prevent disturbance to residents in the neighbouring building.

JD Wetherspoon has since agreed with the owner of the property at 5 Castle Street to triple glaze windows overlooking the beer garden.

The chain aims to spend £1.2m turning the Mercury office into a pub.