A STUNNED bar manager has been dealt a blow when he was refused permission to stay open longer at the weekends after workers from rival pubs complained about the noise.
Bridge Inn manager Dave Archer now plans to appeal against the decision, which was made by Hyndburn Council's Judicial Committee this week.
He had wanted to extend his opening hours until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. But local residents mounted a challenge against the move, claiming it would lead to an increase in noise and anti-social behaviour.
However, it was revealed that two out of four residents who sent letters of complaint live and work at the nearby Warners Arms in Warner Street. One of the pair was also said to be assistant manager at the Arcade Bar, also on Warner Street, which can stay open until 2am at the weekend.
Solicitor Nicola Holt argued that Mr Archer had applied for the extension to "bring his premises into line with other premises in the town centre" and to "create a level playing field".
Stuart Hiley and Mark Roberts - both assistant managers at the Warners Arms - argued that any extension would disrupt their sleep.
Mr Hiley said: "The music is really loud so it is a serious concern. My quality of life would be seriously compromised. It's my home and place of work.
"I have to get up at 8.30am to make sure the pub is ready and clean for opening. We have traditional pub opening times unlike the Bridge Inn, which is mostly open at night."
Mr Roberts, who is also assistant manager at the Arcade, denied having an ulterior motive for opposing the plans. He said: "That's not why I am here, it is about how it affects my life."
Resident Trevor Cunliffe, of Oak Street, Accrington, claimed the fire doors were often left open during the night, which led to an increase in noise.
He said: "I've got quadruple glazing and it still comes through. Even with the fire doors closed the noise is unacceptable."
The committee rejected the application after deliberating for around 40 minutes. Chairman Councillor Brian Roberts said: "We feel it would be inappropriate to extend the opening times, as it would exacerbate problems for nearby residents."
He added: "We think there should be a bit of give and take between the business and local residents to discuss any future problems."
Simon Taylor, area manager for bar owners Thwaites, said: "We feel the decision hasn't been based on any hard evidence and we will be appealing against it. The decision was made on the assumption it would cause a noise nuisance. But they could revoke the licence if there were any problems.
"We welcome working with any local residents. We run a successful business and we would like to meet customer demand on those two nights. We are a responsible company and think it's an acceptable venue to trade until 2am."