Southwick micropub conversion hinges on opening hours decision

The empty building in Southwick Square could become a micropub
The empty building in Southwick Square could become a micropub

A family is hoping to turn a former travel agents in Southwick Square, which has stood empty for around 18 months, into a micropub.

But prospective owner Colin Warner said he may have to reconsider whether to go ahead with the business if the planning committee decides to limit its opening hours.

The planning officer has recommended that the micropub closes at 10pm from Monday to Thursday and 10.30pm on Friday and Saturday.

But Mr Warner said his investment would only pay off if the micropub was permitted to open until 11pm from Monday to Thursday and 11.30pm on Friday and Saturday.

He said: “The reason for needing longer hours is simply to enable our business to compete with other local businesses on a level playing field.

“By its size we would struggle to be classed as a true micro pub but we will run, where economically viable, with the same ethos.”

He said Southwick Beer Engine micropub would be a ‘grown up bar’, serving locally sourced beer and spirits from within a 30-mile area.

The father, who used to work at the British Legion in Crawley, said it would be a ‘big addition’ to the town and said: “We’ve had some really positive feedback from people.

“They are all looking forward to it, we are looking forward to it. It’s been hard work and a lot of stress to get to this stage.”

The planning officer has noted that the micropub has the potential to increase both the vitality and viability of the town centre.

However, he said the potential noise and disturbance from up to 50 customers entering and leaving the establishment made the suggested opening hours appropriate.

But Mr Warner said: “Tosca and two other bars all close at the same time. Why would we make any more noise impact?”

A decision will be made at a planning meeting at the Shoreham Centre at 7pm on Monday (March 26).

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