Business given green light to sell alcohol as fears of drinkers ‘necking pints’ dismissed

Long Ashton Library shut down last year.

Long Ashton Library shut down last year. - Credit: Archant

Diners at a new café – on the site of a former library – will not be ‘necking beer’ and causing a disturbance to villagers, say North Somerset Council.

It has given the green light for The Old Library, in Long Ashton, to hold an alcohol licence.

The move comes despite concerns from some villagers about problems spilling out on to the street.

To alleviate those fears, it will not sell booze from 10am as planned.

The Old Library will open this month after North Somerset Council shut the library, in Lovelinch Gardens, last year to save money.

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Licensing sub-committee members approved an application by McVetta Ltd, a joint venture between former Bristol City footballer Jamie McAllister and Bristol businessman Antonio Bavetta, to serve alcohol at the premises from noon to 9pm daily.

The company's solicitor, Ewen Macgregor, told the hearing on Tuesday that the firm had agreed conditions with the police.

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He said there would be no bar and that a limited range of beer, wine and spirits available to diners.

But Brian Lewis, aged 84, one of two neighbours who objected and live directly above the former library, told councillors he feared noise and disturbance from up to 20 customers eating and drinking outside.

He said: "My concerns relate to the noise nuisance from outside emanating from the customers on the pavement directly below my living room and dining room.

"I would need to leave my windows closed even during the summer.

"People will start moving onto the pavement outside right below our windows."

Mr Lewis said he was not objecting to a licence being granted but to the fact it would allow the café to serve alcohol outside.

Sub-committee chairman John Crockford-Hawley replied: "There will be no bar so you won't have people standing outside necking back pints of beer."

Mr Macgregor said The Old Library would be managed by Mr McAllister's wife Ashleigh, who had lived in the village for 13 years and was 'part of the community'.

He said: "We are doing our absolute utmost to try to accommodate everybody with this application.

"There is a commitment to ensure there is minimal disturbance.

"The conditions stop this café from becoming a pub."

He said the café will open daily from 7.30am-9.30pm, with a pizza oven to be installed.

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