A DECISION on the future of a popular Llandudno bar will be decided following a tense licensing meeting at Conwy’s Bodlondeb HQ.
Local businessman Phillip Ashe addressed Conwy’s licensing sub-committee this afternoon (Tuesday) following his application for a premises licence at Fountains bar on Upper Mostyn Street.
The bar closed in December and has since been taken on by Mr Ashe.
Mr Ashe was asked by committee members what noise mitigation provisions he had put in place after objections from residents.
He was also asked how many staff he employed.
Mr Ashe, who runs several other pubs, replied he had lost three members of staff because of the delay caused by the licensing hearing; however, he revealed he employed 25 staff overall and would employ an additional 15 at Fountains – if the licence allowing the sale of alcohol and music was granted.
But the atmosphere at the sub-committee meeting was tense overall – with Mr Ashe seemingly reluctant to answer questions, instead suggesting the requested information was already available in the report, together with his submitted noise control policies.
One bone of contention was a mistake made by Conwy’s environmental health officer, relating to keg delivery times.
The mistake effectively meant that, had Mr Ashe followed the suggested conditions, the pub would have been unable to have any deliveries without breaking the proposed controlled times, hence no agreement being reached.
The officer apologised, but Mr Ashe claimed he had raised the mistake on three separate occasions prior to the meeting.
The applicant, though, said tables and chairs would be brought in from outside the bar between 11 – 12 pm and said notices would remind customers to keep the noise to a minimum.
Mr Ashe added that noise levels would be measured at least once an hour during live music events.
He also said he had contacted the residents who had raised objections.
“The four people who put letters in about their concerns, I would take the fact that they’re not here today that they are more than happy with my emails,” he said.
“I actually popped round to see some of them as well. The only reason we are here today is because the environmental health department and I can’t agree on stuff.”
He added: “We are quite happy with everything we have put forward.”
Conwy’s senior environmental health officer Lianne Martin said: “Unfortunately mediation was unsuccessful. The original application contained just a few items to control noise and nuisance.
“As a statutory consultee, my role is to ensure that residents’ amenity is protected. I appreciate this is a new application, but historically it’s just been a very problematic premises regarding noise.”
She added: “Prior to the surrender of the licence in December 2022, there were four noise complaints about this premises. So this is an opportunity to minimise disruption and look at the application. Unfortunately, there was insufficient information in the application.”
Mr Ashe then said he had sent a freedom of information (FOI) request, returned that morning, asking how many noise complaints Conwy had received in relation to Upper Mostyn Street in the previous year. He claimed the FOI went unanswered.
“The reply back from the local authority this morning was ‘information not held’,” he said.
“So if there are noise complaints, or have been prior noise complaints, they are not on record, or they (Conwy) are lying in an FOI.”
Conwy’s head licensing officer John Donnelly reminded committee members that this was a new application and there was no history in regard to the premises with the new operator.
“Anything prior to this application should not be considered,” he said.
The licensing sub-committee has five working days to decide.