TWO pubs within metres of Yate’s main church and heritage centre have won approval to extend where they sell alcohol and for how long.

The Lawns pub, on Church Road, was given the go ahead to extend its licensed area into the beer garden and for an extension of an existing outbuilding to become a licensed bar whilst the White Lion, at the junction of Station Road and Church Road, will extend its opening hours from midnight until 1am on Friday and Saturdays.

South Gloucestershire Council’s licensing sub-committee said it had taken account of a written objection to both applications but also noted that the police and Environmental Health had no concerns.

In a letter to the council, a resident whose 86-year-old mother has lived on Church Road for 63 years, said they were worried about attracting more people to both pubs.

“One concern is by allowing the Lion to serve alcohol until 1am and the Lawns to have outside bar facilities this will generate far more people leaving the establishments in the early hours, when all street lights have been turned off at 11pm so the area is in pitch darkness, to overspill onto the village green which could lead to rowdiness and potential vandalism to the church buildings and residential dwellings nearby.”

The unnamed complainant said when Spirals nightclub was open in Yate Shipping Centre, damage to her property included broken windows and continual banging on the windows as well as considerable damage caused to St Mary’s Youth Club, school and church buildings.

Patrick Robson, solicitor for Marston’s Plc which owns The Lawns, said his client had offered to stop serving customers in the outside bar at 10.30pm following liaison with town councillors.

“The only objection is based on potential late night problems but there is no evidence and any potential evidence is anecdotal relating to when Spirals nightclub closed,” he told the committee on Tuesday (June 24).

“Our customers are not the sort to cause issues. If that wasn’t the case the police and Environmental Health would be objecting. I suggest the absence of any objection from those authorities should be taken positively.”

Yate Town Council had originally objected to both applications.

Cllr Chris Willmore told the Gazette the situation was still not perfect but amendments to plans now offered the ‘least worst’ scenario.

“Originally The Lawns wanted to use all its garden area which went right up to neighbours’ garden fences and serve outside until 1am,” she said. “Our worry was that it would become the problem pub.

“We put in a detailed legal objection and while we don’t want to stop people enjoying a drink outside, we want to protect residents’ amenities.”

The White Lion, where the council’s licensing officers have dealt with a long list of residents’ complaints and police incidents, agreed to keep two qualified security staff on the door of the pub until its later closing time.