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Caerphilly Politics South Wales

Caerphilly brewery owner defends controversial plan to open outdoor drinking area

The Brew Monster brewery in Caerphilly, with gated entrance to yard at right (Pic: LDRS)

A BREWERY owner has defended his application to open an outdoor area for weekend drinkers after residents complained and some council officers objected.

Glenn White, the founder of Brew Monster, wants to extend the licensable area of its premises to include his brewery yard and serve customers there on Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 9am and 9pm.

The move has been opposed by four neighbours who claimed noisy punters had made them unable to enjoy their own gardens, when Brew Monster was given temporary licence extensions for previous events.

At a meeting on Wednesday August 9, one neighbour told Caerphilly County Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee her mother “couldn’t bear to be in her garden” on those days.

Councillor James Fussell, representing another neighbour, said that man’s housebound wife’s “only escape” is the garden, which had become a “no-go area” during previous brewery yard events.

Mr White told the committee he had a “very positive” group of customers and rejected suggestions they had previously behaved badly.

He told councillors his typical clientele stayed for “between one and three” drinks instead of all-day drinking.

The Welsh Government awarded Brew Monster £180,000 to renovate the former Plumbsave building in Lon y Twyn, Caerphilly, in 2020, and the site is both the firm’s brewery and one of its bars.

Mr White described how the company had “invested a substantial amount” in the premises and had endured a “really challenging” time during the pandemic.

“We consider ourselves to be an asset to Caerphilly, “ he added. “This [application] is a key part of us being able to thrive in the future.”

But two council officers told the committee their departments objected to the brewery yard weekend plans.

Chris Jennings, from environmental health, said “the potential for nuisance is heightened” if drinking is permitted in the yard for 12 hours a day, 52 weekends a year.

The committee heard that Mr White is also waiting to find out whether he will have planning permission for his yard plans – and that the brewer’s plans for acoustic screens in the yard could not be fairly considered until that planning application had been decided upon.

Annette Dicks, from licensing, told the committee her department also objected to the application after hearing the neighbours’ complaints.

Gwent Police constable Jon Taylor said the force had no objections to Brew Monster’s plans and had received no callouts to the premises related to crime, disorder or antisocial behaviour in the past year.

But, he added, Mr White had accepted police recommendations to strengthen the firm’s policies around bottles, CCTV, and supervising the building’s entrance, which opens onto Lon y Twyn.

Mr White also told councillors he would “absolutely” bring in more staff to manage the outdoor space if his application is successful.

The council committee will publish a decision by Wednesday August 16.