Spalding pub owner in plea over opening hours

Pete Williams of The Punchbowl
Pete Williams of The Punchbowl

A Spalding pub owner says he is ‘heartbroken’ at the thought of closing earlier than other premises in the town over the Christmas period.

Pete Williams has made three Temporary Events Notices (TENS) applications at the Punchbowl in New Road to extend opening hours from 1am to 3am over the festivities.

He has hired a barrister to represent him at Friday’s meeting of South Holland District Council’s licensing committee after objections to the late opening by the council’s environmental protection team, citing noise levels.

He wants to open on Saturday, December 12, until 3am on the Sunday, and also open until 3am on December 20-21 and December 24-27.

But environmental protection have objected. They say that following a complaint of excessive noise from amplified sound they carried out noise monitoring and found it to be excessive and in breach of the premises licence on several days. On October 24 and November 8 it was also being played beyond hours specified in the licence.

“I make these applications every year and I’ve never been turned down before,” said Mr Williams, whose son Ben runs the popular pub.

“I am trying not to take this personally but I am heartbroken. We are suffering our worst year on record and January and February are always poor months – so we were relying on Christmas to bring some money in.

“All I am asking is to be able to compete with other premises in the town that will be opening to these hours.

“Bentleys, Loaded and Bounce already open later than us on a Friday and Saturday night and it’s already hard seeing people leaving our pub to go to other establishments after I’m forced to call time.”

The licensing committee – consisting of councillors Anthony Casson, Malcolm Chandler and chair Angela Harrison – meets at 10am at the Priory Road council offices.

The panel can allow the TENS to go ahead as requested, turn them down totally or allow them but with conditions.

Mr Williams added: “Christmas is the time to have a party, some late night fun, and the Punchbowl has always been about those things.

“People want to come here, let their hair down and enjoy themselves – that’s hard to do when I have to send them to other places to continue their night.

“Hopefully, by taking on a barrister, he will be able to speak for me and persuade councillors to allow these nights to go ahead.

“It’s not just me that will suffer either if I don’t get the go-ahead. A lot of people in Spalding look forward to coming here over Christmas.

“I do this to make a living – albeit a poor one at the moment.”