Vote halts bid to sell booze at club

August 27 2020

BRISTOL Rovers Supporters Junior Football Club has been refused permission to sell alcohol at its Soundwell pavilion after dozens of residents objected.

Bristol Rovers Junior Football Club in Soundwell

Bristol Rovers Junior Football Club in Soundwell

South Gloucestershire councillors rejected the club’s premises licence application to serve drinks to parents and non-members from 6- 9pm weekdays and noon to 10pm on Saturday and Sunday despite no opposition from the police or environmental health.

A total of 34 neighbours objected on the grounds it could cause public nuisance, antisocial behaviour and leave broken glass on the adjacent playing fields in Church Road.

Applicant Nick Hammond said the sale of booze would be in plastic cups and was purely an alternative to teas and coffees for parents watching their children play football, as well as raising much-needed money to help maintain the site, which it leases from the council.

But licensing sub-committee members voted 2-1 to refuse it.

Conditions had been agreed with the police, fire service and the council’s regulatory teams before the meeting, but approval was needed from the panel.

Mr Hammond told the remote hearing on August 5 that the club had never received a complaint about its other site at Southey playing fields in Kingswood, which serves alcohol.

He said the bar at Soundwell would be open only during matches and training sessions and that it would be shut by 7pm on “99.9 per cent” of Saturdays.

Mr Hammond said the club was already responsible for clearing up all litter.

“As a junior football club and the 25-year tenants of Soundwell Park there is an enormous cost, including £3,000 for grass-cutting, £100-a-month bin collections and staff costs,” he said. “We very much want to be part of the community and welcome them to use our facility for any events.”

Members heard the club had wanted to hold a public meeting to alleviate neighbours’ concerns but that the pandemic prevented this.

Only one of the residents who objected attended the meeting but after hearing the club’s case she said her concerns had been addressed.

The club was given 21 days to appeal to the magistrates’ court, where costs could be awarded against the council if the decision is overturned.

 By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service