Letter to the editor of the Lymington Times
The planning application by Wetherspoon’s for a pub next to the Parish Church in Lymington has merited your leading front page article for its newsworthiness and controversy. No doubt people are going to have strongly opposing views about this sort of pub in this location.
The Lymington Society tries to be objective about all planning applications and informs the planners as much as possible on each application. Here it may be helpful if the Society informed the public through your pages as well. Can I firstly amplify the comments of the Lymington Society spokesman in your article by inserting the four paragraphs that you omitted from the press release.
“However we note that local people have expressed concerns about the likelihood of such a large premises becoming a public house so near to the church and the adjacent graveyard.
The Society understand the concerns and also has reservations about what may well become an extremely large destination public house being developed so near to an area that some people may feel is inappropriate.
Large destination pubs such as this may become have been associated in the past with very late night licences and public order concerns, as we see regularly on TV news programmes.
Therefore whilst welcoming in principle investments such as this that bring new facilities, jobs and economic activity to the town, the Society hopes that the authorities will not allow a very late licence for this establishment which could cause problems for those living in the town centre from noise and nuisance from inebriated revellers in the early hours”.
This press release did not “cautiously welcome the move,” but welcomed a commercial investment that brought vitality and economic activity to the High Street, but not the noise and nuisance of an establishment with the reputation of Wetherspoon’s, which from their website reads
“During the day, our Lloyds No.1 bars can offer a quiet, relaxed pub, for all to enjoy a drink or meal; at night, the teams up the mood and tempo. The night-time teams are really focused on, and enthusiastic about, people having fun and providing a really vibrant atmosphere. Watch out for our regular party nights – great fun and often a bit of an eye-opener! At the weekends, many of our Lloyds No.1 bars have live DJs or live music.”
The commercial ethos of Wetherspoon’s, as I understand it, is to sell drink at a price lower than other outlets which will not only damage the business of those outlets, but on the basis that there is no similar outlet between Bournemouth and Southampton, make Lymington High Street a focus, or destination, for that type of pub. It is very questionable whether that is appropriate to the present character of Lymington and its High Street.
The authorities would no doubt try to control excessive noise and disturbance from such a pub, but there would be continual friction and on the basis that this can be described as a “destination pub” designed to attract large numbers of young people from a wide area, there would no doubt have to be a regular police presence in the High Street. A few years ago there were continual disturbances monitored by the police inQueen Street because of the pubs there. To repeat those disturbances in the High Street next to the church and opposite a long established care home seems completely unnecessary.
Accordingly, whilst in principle welcoming facilities for young people in the right places, as the press release did, it clearly cautioned against this sort of outlet next to the parish church. The Lymington Society have now had an opportunity to discuss this within its executive committee and with many of its members, and the clear feeling accepted by everyone is that this is a proposal for what might, in certain circumstances, be the right facility but in completely the wrong place.
I appreciate that many with strong religious or traditional views may say that the proposal is outrageous and that it should not even be considered. The Lymington Society have now considered the proposal fully and objectively and, on all the arguments, a pub of the Wetherspoon’s type is clearly wrong for Lymington High Street and in particular for this location immediately next to the entrance to the Lymington parish church.
For the full objection of the Lymington Society dealing with all the issues please look at our website.