In the end, it was a compromise – and it had to be. The owners of South Parade Pier wanted to be able to have live and recorded music and serve alcohol until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.
But after concern from residents over late-night noise and anti-social behaviour and doubts over the structure’s ability to contain sound, the city council’s sub-licencing committee said no.
Instead, the pier now has a licence for music until 11.30pm and 12.30am on Fridays and Saturdays respectively, while alcohol can be served until 12.30am during the week and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. The pier must also close each day by 1.30am.
It clearly falls short of what pier owners Tommy Ware Jnr and Tommy Ware Snr wanted. Indeed, their spokesperson Nick Courtney has told us that it is the ‘kiss of death’ for club nights on the pier because it will put off promoters and DJs.
The problem, of course, is that the Wares are businessmen who want to maximise the pier’s profitability and get a return on all the money they have spent bringing it back to life. An earlier licence reduces their options.
But we still believe they will be able to make money out of the pier.
As for the council, we think it has tried to be fair to both local residents and the Wares. Councillors could hardly ignore the fact that more than 100 people had written to object to the 3am application.
But nor have they imposed even earlier music and alcohol licencing hours on the pier.
Instead they have recognised and understood the position of both parties and tried to find some middle ground.
Those on both sides might still be unhappy with the outcome, but maybe their expectations were unrealistic.