A Derbyshire pub could reopen in a week after a £1 million revamp and approval of new hours to allow for Champagne breakfasts.
At an Amber Valley Borough Council licensing meeting, residents raised concerns over the noise and nuisance that the Milford venue could create.
Concerned residents said that noises spread further than would be expected in the valley and that if the venue were to have longer hours than other pubs in the village, it could see late-night drinkers swarm to the hotel.
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Residents did, however, welcome the re-opening of the venue, which they say has been done to a high quality standard and is far better than having it left as an “eyesore”.
The venue’s new management, Ben Corner and Baljit Atwal, a pair of school friends, aim to open up the hotel, bar and restaurant on Friday, October 11 after nearly a decade.
They say that test-runs of the venue’s food offer are currently ongoing, with management eager to get things spot on before opening.
This could see the opening date pushed back a week (until Friday, October 17) to ensure perfection.
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The venue would have enough space for 200 covers and 11 bed and breakfast rooms upstairs.
However, the new management says that the venue would seat up to 120 at any one time, with no standing room allocated.
At Wednesday night’s hearing, the venue’s new management moved to reassure residents that the Strutt Arms would not become a major drinking venue similar to those found in a city.
They said that the venue would be food-led as opposed to drink-led.
This was after 11 residents wrote objection letters fearing “excessive noise, loitering and low-level criminality”.
Andrew Cochrane, solicitor acting on behalf of the hotel, said at the hearing: “It has been a pub for a long, long time and it has been closed for around 10 years – and has been a bit of an eyesore.
“They (the new management) have spent something in excess of £1 million for refurbishing the Strutt Arms. It would be more of a gastro pub.
“For the business to thrive, it is not in their best interests to have loud noise, because the residents upstairs will not be able to sleep.
“There are no function rooms so there will be no weddings and big parties.”
Mr Cochrane later said that the venue would like to cater for birthdays and anniversaries and that longer alcohol hours – up to 1am – would be needed to cater for these occasions, which they say would be infrequent.
He said: “This will be a very high quality gastro-dining experience and bar.”
Part of the controversy over the plans relates to the now approved licensed alcohol hours.
This will see alcohol sold from 9am until midnight Monday through Thursday; 9am until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays; and 9am until 11.30pm on Sundays.
Mr Cochrane said that the 9am start for alcohol sales was required for Champagne breakfasts to be offered.
He also said that it would allow the venue to open for events like the Rugby World Cup, with matches being aired earlier in the day due to the tournament being hosted in Japan this year.
Mr Cochrane said: “We understand that after 10 years there will be some concern about the reopening of the premises.
“It is not likely to be the sort of premises that will attract a lot of noise or nuisance.
“We don’t see people coming for lots of late-night heavy drinking.
“It is never in the interests of licensable premises to fall out with their residents, because they hope the residents will be their patrons.
Mr Corner, who is in charge of the neighbouring Soi Kitchens restaurant and the Slice of India buffet near Mansfield Road in Derby, said: “We know this is not a city centre bar sports bar – so (if the venue opens early for the Rugby World Cup) it would just be local residents walking down to watch it at the hotel rather than at home.
“We would probably be selling more soft drinks than anything else.
“We would just like the opportunity to do those events.”
He confirmed that the venue would not have Sky Sports and would only have terrestrial channels.
Mr Cochrane said that early openings for the rugby or other sports “would not be a regular pattern of events, the regular pattern would be the Champagne breakfasts”.
John Hammerton, a Milford resident, said at the hearing: “We welcome the reopening of the Strutt.
“You mention the old license a lot but with it being closed for 10 years we should be looking at this fresh.
“The other pubs in Milford and Makeney close at about 8pm, so you could be attracting late night drinking after those places close.”
Mr Cochrane said that other venues had licenses to open until 1am and midnight but choose not to use them – which the Strutt Arms Hotel could also do.
Mr Atwal also confirmed that double glazing could not be fitted to the windows on the venue’s ground floor because the site is in a conservation area and they would not be in keeping.
He also said that the hotel’s bedrooms would most likely open six weeks after the rest of the venue, to ensure that any initial teething problems are out of the way first.
David Pitt, another Milford resident, feared that people leaving the venue at midnight or 1am would disturb residents in a nearby nursing home.
He said: “Milford is a quiet village and we are just concerned about late night drinking and traffic (mainly from taxis) into the early hours.”
Mr Atwal confirmed that: “The road noise is far greater than any noise the venue could create.”
Mr Hammerton said: “We value the Strutt Arms, it is a high quality and will benefit the area greatly.
“You have to consider the residents. By working with the residents you will have the support of the residents, but if not, word can go around and venues can be boycotted.”
Chris Potter, speaking on behalf of the council, said that residents could call the venue into a license review “if things don’t happen they way they should be happening, but hopefully good neighbourness will take place”.