Derbyshire pub’s new dining room ‘will raise the profile of its village’

Management at a Derbyshire village pub said approved plans for a 40-table dining room and games room in disused buildings “would raise the profile of the area”.

A clearance hearing held today (November 15) at the Hawk and Buckle pub on Main Street, Etwall, allowed the site to expand its operations to abandoned buildings on the grounds.

Following the hearing, management said that a “significant” investment in the site would benefit the region and were satisfied with the outcome and the apparent acceptance of most of the community.

South Derbyshire District Council had called a hearing after objections to the plans were raised by two residents, citing previous anti-social behavior issues related to the pub.

This included reports of young gamblers urinating in a nearby door and climbing to the top of a bus stop to throw bottles in the road.

During today’s hearing, Karen Cochrane, representative of the venue, said the summer had seen a “perfect storm” of problems leading to “unprecedented” anti-social behavior that was not characteristic of the pub.

This included the Euro 2020 football tournament, the easing of lockdown restrictions and catering for outside customers.

Ms Cochrane said: “It is admitted that over the summer there were problems at the pub. It was during the pandemic and it was an unprecedented time.

“The license holder is very experienced and they say they have never seen anything like it before.

“In the hospitality industry in particular, it was difficult because the rules were changing every day and they required guests to be able to sit outside.

“During the lockdown we all got used to being able to hear the birds in the garden for the first time and we all got used to that, then Eat Out to Help Out came along and it was a shock to many who s ‘were used to silence, they had become more sensitive to noise.

“We had a bit of a perfect storm. We had young clients from outside the area who were an unfamiliar clientele, coming from places like Mickleover, and with the place having to sit people outside it caused more noise.

“We also had the euros, which was a complete chaos. It was, I think, the last straw for people who live near pubs.

“We are taking into account the comments that have been raised by residents and have moved things around the pub so that patrons can be better watched.

“The owners are investing large sums of money and renovating and this will help prevent public nuisance.

“It is better that no neighbor opposes it but there are only two and I do not think it is impossible for me to think that most people have therefore found this (the extension in abandoned buildings) acceptable. “

Faye Norman, a council licensing officer, said issues of noise and anti-social behavior were raised in August this year, which resulted in advice being provided to the site, but no formal enforcement was required.

She said complaints had been received in previous years, but this had not led to any reports of nuisance.

Bethany Hughes, the venue’s general manager, said she has a lot of experience dealing with guests, including door supervisor qualifications, and the outdoor space would be off limits to guests after 11 p.m., with a little space available for smoking.

She said the CCTV recordings would be kept for 28 days, up from two weeks previously.

Miss Hughes said the proposed dining room will contain more than 40 tables, while the venue currently only has space for six tables, making a food supply at the pub unviable.

The games room would have a pool table.

Gareth Davies, who has lived in Etwall for six years, said there had never been a problem with the pub until the summer, with young patrons being ‘disruptive’.

He was concerned that the pub would become a “party place” if he accepted the offer to stay open until 1 a.m., which he is legally allowed to do under his existing license.

Ms Cochrane said the upper limit of hours of operation allowed in the license was not going to be used, as it already is.

Liz Page, the council’s senior legal adviser, reading the committee’s decision to grant the permit amendment, said the conditions aimed at preventing crime and unrest “specifically address the concerns raised.”

Miss Hughes told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that she was “satisfied” with the outcome and that she “had the opportunity” to speak for the place and expand the business.

Chris Peach, owner and owner of the pub, said the proposed investment “would raise the profile of the region”.

Mr Davies told LDRS he was reassured about the plans and was “delighted” that they were moving forward, saying the community wanted to show their full support for a local business.

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