Publican says not allowing late night music would “turn back the clock to make us a non entity struggling pub”

Nigel Marsh

Nigel Marsh - Credit: Archant

Publican Nigel Marsh says if he fails to extend the hours live music can be played it would “turn back the clock to make us a non entity struggling pub”.

Rock Till You Drop fund-raiser for Magpas, Georges, March. Left: Nigel Marsh, Sophie Bower and Andre

Rock Till You Drop fund-raiser for Magpas, Georges, March. Left: Nigel Marsh, Sophie Bower and Andrew Bottley. - Credit: Archant

Mr Marsh, landlord of Georges in March High Street, faces his critics on October 1 when the licensing committee of Fenland Council will determine his application.

Fenland District Councillors Kit Owen.

Fenland District Councillors Kit Owen. - Credit: Archant

Residents of nearby flats have complained bitterly to the council about the noise from the pub- and on the advice of environmental health officials kept log books for a period this summer.

Mr Marsh has also drawn criticism from a local councillor Kit Owen, coincidentally a former chairman of the licensing committee.

Mr Owen has objected to later opening hours, claiming that noise from summer outdoor music had caused “distress and annoyance to many residents in the immediate locality.”

Mr Marsh – who wants to sell alcohol until 1.30am on three nights a week and to have live music until 1am on those same nights- has to limit noise.

He said he had also promised to assess noise levels on a regular basis and has offered neighbours a hot line phone number to contact him.

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Mr Marsh said: “To reduce the live entertainment within Georges to finish earlier would stop in its tracks the success that Georges has obtained and would turn back the clock to make Georges into a non entity struggling pub,” he said.

“Does Kit Owen prefer the public house that was in existence three years ago that was an eye sore and non contributor to the local community?”

“A high street whether catering for daytime trade or night-time trade, must offer facilities that compete with other towns if March is to win the trophy of increase custom “

He said his business paid £15,000 a year in rates, was an employer of local staff, and needed to “optimise its market” but at the same time ensure the safety of its customers and the management of anti social behaviour.

Kim Winterton, licensing team leader for Fenland council says that “in principle” environmental health officers do not object to later opening.

However she said they would insist on a series of tough conditions and it was noted that on a previous application measures now being put forward by Mr Marsh had not been followed through.

“Therefore I recommend that these and further measures are conditioned to provide assurances that they will be undertaken,” she said. She will also report the evidence of six complainants and agreed that noise monitoring during a three day spell in August substantiated their grievances.

Noise levels, she says, after 11pm were likely “to cause annoyance and sleep disturbance” and customers’ could be heard shouting and singing in the front beer garden of Georges.