Cotswold villagers lose battle to block pub.

Cotswold villagers lose battle to block pub

Thursday, November 05, 2009, 07:00 From THIS IS GLOUCESTERSHIRE.

Only ‘decent’ people would be using a controversial new pub and restaurant in a former Royal British Legion base, caterers have claimed.

In a bid to reassure Cotswold District Council it would run a tight ship if granted a premises licence at The Naight, in Bourton-on-the-Water, G and K Catering said its clientele would be well-behaved.

Applicants ex-Army Para Kena Hawtin and Andrew Northeast won the day to open up on the notorious site – despite local opposition.

Neighbours who turned out to oppose the application said they had previously been plagued by problems of anti-social behaviour, drugs, noise, litter and underage drinking.

The locals told the licensing committee the problems happened when the ex-services base became the now-closed Windrush Social Club, unaffiliated to the RBL.

They claimed the building became a ‘drinking den’ and feared history would repeat itself as the new lessees had originally asked to be open seven days a week until midnight.

The applicants later agreed to a condition from the district council’s environmental health team for an 11.30pm deadline.

But Mr Hawtin said: “Most objections are from the past and bear no relation to us at all.

“We are not associated in any way with the past and the bad reputation which was built up.

“It was purely a drinking den before but we’re planning on enlarging the kitchen and making food our main business and doing functions such as weddings and pig roasts.

“Most people are decent in Bourton and I don’t think they should be held to bear on past evidence.

“We, as a company, have worked with Bourton residents before and are quite well-respected. We have 50 years experience in the licensing and catering trade.”

Residents and the parish council also hit out against the offer of cheap alcohol at the base.

But Mr Hawtin, who wishes to encourage legion members to the base, said: “The chairman of the old RBL said it would be nice if we as a company could come up with an idea to attract ex-Legion members.

“So we were going to offer 10 per cent off drink but I now realise what a stupid idea it was and it’s upset so many people, so we’ve dropped that now.”

But residents weren’t persuaded.

Mr Gregory said: “The building was a private members’ club used by the RBL, who might be thought to be better behaved and disciplined than members of the general public.

“It’s also a secluded area that lends itself to bad behaviour out of the eyes of the public and passing police patrols.”

Parish council chairman Bryan Sumner also accused the applicants of being ‘naive’ and ‘lacking any serious intent’ not to be a nuisance to neighbours.

But the licensing committee gave the licence the go-ahead, with conditions, which including alcohol only being served to 11.30pm daily, and 11pm on Sundays; charity events confined to indoors and the venture joining the publicans’ Behave or be Banned scheme.

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