Derbyshire woodland pub granted licence - despite objections from residents

A temporary pub set up in Derbyshire woodland will now be a permanent feature – despite residents comparing it to the noise disruption of Glastonbury.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 8:17 am

A licensing hearing held by Derbyshire Dales District Council saw councillors approve a premises licence for the Pub in the Woods, based on the Wild Park Derbyshire site, just outside Brailsford.

Residents living nearby claimed the site, which has been operating through temporary licences through the pandemic, say current noise levels caused by the venue are too high.

A solicitor speaking on behalf of the applicants, said management had made earlier mistakes when setting up the venture but have made changes to reduce noise and disruption.

Jenny Else, who runs the venture, said the venue would host ‘butlers in the buff’ events for charity nights, but “we are not thinking of having hen parties every week or anything like that”.

Now a premises licence has been granted, the venue will be allowed to open from 7.30am until 11.30pm Sunday through Wednesday and 7.30am until 12.30am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Alcohol can be on sale from noon each day and until 11pm Sunday through Wednesday and until midnight Thursday to Saturday.

Music can be permitted indoors and outdoors until midnight from Thursday to Saturday and films would be allowed to be shown from 9am until midnight on the Sundays before bank holidays and on Halloween (October 31), and until 1am on New Year’s Eve.

However, Karen Cochrane, on behalf of applicants, said there is no current plan to have the venue open every day of the week and very few events which would continue past 11pm.

She said events would be pre-booked with strict entry and exit times.

Eileen Tierney, the council’s licensing manager, said: “The main concerns of the residents are related to the possibility of any increase in noise nuisance and extra traffic if the premises are going to be used on a more frequent basis than they have been in the last 12 months.”

Andrew Smith, who lives close to the site, said during the hearing: “I am already concerned about the noise level and, clearly, approving this application just extends all the noise disturbance.

“The application is going to further add to the noise distribution and, for me, the acoustics are about the same as they are at Glastonbury, although Glastonbury only lasts five days, the potential here is to be 365 days a year with noise nuisance up to 11pm three nights a week and up to midnight four nights a week.

“The soundproofing is leaves on the trees and the wind blowing in the right direction.”

James Hodson, who also lives close to the site, said the noise from the site has reduced in the most recent events, but still presents an issue.

He said during the hearing: “If you can make out the songs very clearly from your bedroom window, that is quite noisy.“Adult entertainment will bring more noise to the area.

“My concern is that more has not been done to soundproof the stage.

“The five people (households) that have objected are the five people around middle wild park.”

Ms Cochrane said it would be a “win-win” if the venue can thrive as a business and that it does not disturb the peace of the area and its residents.

She told the hearing: “It’s a rural and isolated spot, that is the unique selling point of this premises and is going to be vital for the premises and also others living nearby to do nothing to spoil that.

“People are coming for the rural atmosphere. If they just wanted to go to a normal pub or club they could do that very easily.

“It is called the pub in the woods and it would spoil that unique selling point if it was made into anything else.

“The premises have had the opportunity to test the water. It is safe to say they have been on somewhat of a steep learning curve.

“They will admit themselves that a five-piece band will simply not work on this site, nor will DJs playing dance music.

“So with that in mind they have already begun to limit the number of musicians to two or three. A five-piece band was not helpful.

“Acoustic music will routinely cause no issues and amplified music can be turned down. The music will not need to be loud, it is not competing with any other noise.”

She said the venue had initially used two large speakers, but has swapped these for five small “zonal” speakers.

Ms Cochrane said: “There is a desire to work very closely with the neighbours.”

Jenny Else, who runs the venture, said the venue would host ‘butlers in the buff’ events for charity nights, but “we are not thinking of having hen parties every week or anything like that”.

The application details that the venue is a large log cabin with a tin roof, measuring 25 metres by 15 metres, along with a smaller log cabin measuring five metres by 10 metres.

It says the large cabin is usually used as a “safe area” between paintballing battles, where customers can restock on ammo and get drinks and snacks.It is also used for corporate team building and sometimes school fundraising events.

The venue also has an outdoor seating area with picnic tables and log stumps, along with an open sided tipi and open-sided wooden huts.

It says it would like permission for regular live music sessions as the business expands following the pandemic, saying “we would rather ensure we have covered all possibilities and have the flexibility to cater for events in the future”.