The Railway Hotel in Plymouth Road, Penarth has now withdrawn a highly contentious licensing application which would have enabled it to stay open until 02:30 am on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The pub had proposed to “Extend the terminal hour for the sale of alcohol, regulated entertainment (films, indoor sports and live music) and late night refreshment on Fridays and Saturdays to 02:00 the following day.” .
The application would have involved extending opening hours to allow the premises to close at 02:30 am the “morning after” Friday and Saturday nights and also sought permission to “Extend the provision of films to commence from 07:00 Monday to Sunday (in line with opening)”.
Last month the Labour-run Penarth Town Council ‘s planning committee – without any public consultation – recommended that the Vale of Glamorgan Council should GRANT the extension to the Railway Hotel.
In considering this application, Penarth Council’s planning committee – under its chairman Cllr Nigel Humphrey (Labour St Augustines) – appeared to have consulted only the “seamless” multi-tiered Labour political machine.
In the Penarth Town Council planning committee on April 19th Cllr Humphrey told members that he had “managed with the help of Alun Michael” [the Labour South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner] to speak to PC Jason Young – the police licensing officer.
PC Young had told Cllr Humphrey that if he were to object to this application, he would “need to come up with valid reasons for refusal” and that – as far as crime associated with the Railway Pub was concerned, PC Young had said that he did not have a “valid reason to actually object”.
However Cllr Humphrey had gone on admit that some “local councillors” [ he didn’t say who] “have concerns about extending these hours “. and noted that if the extension to 02:30 were granted to the Railway Hotel, then other pubs in Penarth might well apply for a similar extensions.[In fact the St Fagans already had. The St Fagans application is to be discussed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s full licensing committee next month].
Penarth Labour councillors seemed to think an extension of hours would be good for the local pubs – and the local Labour Club – and would increase their business. Not one councillor on the Planning Committee raised any concerns about the potential effect that the proposed extension at the Railway Hotel might have on local residents.
Cllr Ian Buckley (Labour Cornerswell) said airily “If people complain, it will go through the police and the licence will be changed “. Allowing the Railway Pub’s licence to be extended – he argued – would “keep the business in Penarth instead it going to Cardiff”.
The Penarth Town Council planning committee then voted in favour of recommending to the Vale of Glamorgan Council that it should allow the Railway Hotel to extend its hours to 02:30 – and also to recommend that the rival St Fagan’s pub should be allowed to extend its hours as well.
However the public of Penarth clearly did not agree with the Penarth’s Labour councillors or their laissez-faire attitude to opening hours. The Railway licensing application has raised a storm of opposition from local residents and other organisations who objected vociferously to the proposed extension.
Some local residents expressed worries about “noise levels” and “threatening behaviour” . Others have expressed concern about young school pupils openly drinking in the streets of Penarth late at night. The recent vandalism in nearby Rectory Road Lane has also worried local householders.
So powerful was the backlash that the Railway Pub has now withdrawn the application and will retain its existing opening hours – closing its doors at 24:30.