The old British Legion club, which has a rich and successful history, has sadly been empty for a couple of years. After going through a troubled period it had to close and was left unused. Now it has been bought up by a local couple who want to use part of the downstairs for drinking, dancing and music. Not surprisingly they have applied for a licence for these activities, until 11.00 pm seven days a week, with the premises closing at midnight.
Harmless enough, you might well think. Certainly a premises like a club, especially with an entrance at the back, could be an asset to the area and a good use for this building, and should not cause any more disturbance to residents than the Legion did in the past.
However, some are understandably concerned that even these relatively modest opening hours seven nights a week could cause the all too frequent alcohol related problems we see elsewhere in Abbeygate ward. They also worry that once granted the premises could be sold or leased to a less considerate landlord.
What is interesting to me is that this will be the first case of a licence application being submitted since the instigation of the Special Licensing Policy introduced by me and Cllr Richard Rout. This means that the applicants will have to demonstrate that their application will not cause disturbance to local residents, rather than the residents having to prove it will.
This must be a fairer way of dealing with such applications, and I hope common sense will prevail when the Licensing sub-committee meet - probably at their May 27th meeting @ 10am in West Suffolk House.
As ever - watch this space.