Plough Inn given new licence after reopening as a micropub
An “out of control” village pub which closed after customers began fighting on the main street has been given a new lease of life as a micropub.
The Plough Inn, which has been a feature of Charfield life since 1897, has reopened as a tiny real ale house.
The pub on Wotton Road closed in February 2018 after months of worsening noise and anti-social behaviour which kept neighbours awake until the early hours of the morning.
But the new owners are confident their micropub, which opened last month after extensive refurbishment, will not cause the same problems for residents of the nearby Kings Meadow estate.
Liberal Democrat councillor for Charfield, John O’Neill, said: “We had people fighting on the main road in Charfield, it was that bad.
“It was out of control, to say the least.”
Cllr O’Neill spoke at a licensing hearing on behalf of an elderly Kings Meadow resident who objected to the licence application from Tankard Developments.
Cllr O’Neill explained the widow was naturally apprehensive the previous problems with noise and anti-social behaviour at the pub would be repeated.
In the months leading up to the pub’s closure, her husband was dying of prostate cancer and she herself was being treated for breast cancer, he said.
“It was a particularly harrowing time and to be faced with all this anti-social behaviour and noise outside their window two or three times a week, we’re talking till half past two, three o’clock in the morning, it was totally unfair,” he said.
However, Cllr O’Neill said he had every faith the problems would not continue under new landlord Darren Hawkins, who is an investor in Tankard Developments.
“I know Darren very well,” he told the hearing. “I completely trust in everything that he’s doing.
“I’m sure what the applicant is doing will actually be an asset to Charfield.”
The licensing subcommittee heard the first floor and half of the ground floor of the Plough Inn had been turned into a private dwelling for the pub management team.
The main bar area is now only only six metres wide and three metres long.
“It’s a tiny room,” Mr Hawkins said.
“We’ve invested considerably into a very small space in the pub to make it smaller and more cosy and also [to create] an environment in which the manager can see everyone who’s present so can be in full control.”
Mr Hawkins he had appointed a capable, experienced manager who could keep an eye on the bar as well as the outdoor smoking area via a window from his serving area.
He said the smoking area had been halved in size, the heaters had been removed to discourage people from staying outside, and screens used to hide smokers from view had also been removed.
“We’ve got full control of it,” he said. “If people were raising their voices we’d ask them to come inside.”
Mr Hawkins said the pub was no longer the cheapest pub in the village, but it sold “high-quality products” and used “quite posh” glasses.
The management would ensure customers did not walk off with the glassware and leave it in residents’ gardens on the way to the Railway Tavern as used to happen, he added.
Mr Hawkins said he had also put up signs restricting customers’ vehicles to the pub car park and asking them to leave quietly and respect the neighbours.
He told the hearing the new micropub, which has been operating on temporary licenses since it opened on April 12, had had no problems whatsoever.
“We’ve had no complaints whatsoever,” Mr Hawkins said.
The licensing subcommittee granted Tankard Developments a licence to operate from 11am to midnight every day of the week.
The license permits the Plough Inn to sell alcohol, late night refreshments, and host live and recorded music and performance dance.
Mr Hawkins said he intends to close at 11pm except on special occasions, and the entertainment tends to be acoustic musicians.
By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service