A family’s dream to convert a vacant former travel agents in Southwick Square into a micropub has been given the green light by councillors.
Prospective owners Colin and Karen Warner, who will run the Southwick Beer Engine with their son Chris, said it was ‘brilliant’ news.
Mr Warner said: “It will be nice to start work on it. We will hopefully be open some time in May.”
Planning officers had previously recommended limiting the micropub's opening hours to 10pm from Monday to Thursday and 10.30pm on Friday and Saturday – a restriction Mr Warner said threatened the viability of the business.
But at the planning meeting yesterday (Monday, March 26), it was announced that conditions had been revised to allow for longer opening hours after an objection from a resident was withdrawn. The applicants will also have to submit a sound insulation scheme to the council.
Councillor George Barton questioned whether the decision would ‘open the flood gates’ for other micropubs to request longer opening hours.
But planning services manager Gary Peck said every site was different and would be judged independently.
Mr Peck agreed with the applicant that the business would be much larger than traditional micropubs, justifying its longer hours, and said that Southwick Square was not silent at night.
Planning conditions were also amended to allow for live jazz music to be played – an idea Councillor Angus Dunn, who spoke in support of the application, said had proved popular among residents who had been consulted.
Councillors were satisfied with the owners' promise to include ash trays in the rear yard, which would be the designated smoking area, and voted unanimously to approve the application.
The micropub will serve locally sourced beer and spirits from within a 30-mile area.
It will be open until 11pm from Monday to Thursday and 11.30pm on Friday and Saturday.