Residents of a coastal village near Praa Sands have written to Cornwall Council with their concerns about a beach bar’s request to extend its opening hours, writes Local Democracy Reporter Lee Trewhela.

They have cited rowdiness, anti-social behaviour, noise and a lack of public transport in the area among their opposition to the licence application.

The Welloe Rock Inn Limited has applied for a premises licence for The Welloe at Sydney Cove, Praa Sands, and has attempted to alleviate the concerns with a list of measures it has and will put in place.

Devon and Cornwall Police has agreed amended conditions with the bar to allow for the licence changes.

The bar / restaurant has applied for live and recorded music indoors and outdoors from 9am to 1.30am, and the sale of alcohol from 9am to 1am on Monday to Sunday, with a request to open from 9am to 1.30am. Current opening hours are 11am to 2am and the current live music licence is from noon to 1am on Monday to Friday and noon to midnight on Sunday.

The council has received 16 representations from people against the application, including Porthleven, Breage and Germoe councillor John Keeling, on the grounds of prevention of public nuisance, prevention of crime and disorder, and public safety.

Cllr Keeling said: “The late hours of opening are not conducive to good behaviour and the evidence of a previous extension of the licensing hours proved that some years ago. The risk of drinking and driving would be a great temptation in this rural area. The lack of public transport would give way to people wandering through the village causing a public nuisance.”

One of those who has opposed the licence told the council: “I am concerned that a large number of people leaving a licensed premises late at night will cause an increase in anti-social behaviour, noise and litter. An unguarded beach, late at night, only metres from the premises, offers a high level of risk to public safety. My concern is that if this licence is granted it will encourage intoxication which has been seen in many places elsewhere to result in drunk and disorderly behaviour and vandalism.”

Another resident wrote: “My family have lived in Praa Sands for 46 years and remember with horror the previous occasions the Welloe were granted late night entertainment licences. It often involved numerous buses, cars and taxis travelling in and out of the village as most of the persons attending were not from the immediate area.

“So there were significant numbers of individuals outside the establishment waiting for transport, makeshift partying around vehicles in the car parks and roads long after the premises had shut, leading to late night rowdiness, fights, noise and damage to surrounding property, fences and gates being ripped down to make fires on the beach, broken bottles, defecation and condoms scattered along the roads, Praa green, dunes and beach.”

“The sound insulation at the Welloe is very poor, due to its very basic construction – thinly insulated roof and a lot of glazing. Under previous late night club events, the sound of the bass was present and distinctly audible around much of Praa Sands even with the doors and windows shut,” stated another letter against the application.

The Welloe’s owners outlined all the measures they would take to ensure Praa Sands residents would not be affected, saying: “We will have bouncers on doors on events and big weekends, and have CCTV. We will do regular toilet checks, on events we decant glass bottles into plastic glassware and we serve drinks in plastic glasses. We are also a member of Pubwatch.

“We have put up signs telling the public to leave quietly – when events are on we have the doors shut, music will be off by midnight, outside speakers are facing away from the town and the volume is not loud. We operate a Challenge 25 Policy, on events nights we have a no under-18s rule from 9pm and have signs up to say children must be supervised at all times. We also have a maximum capacity of 500 and there is free water made to everyone.”

The bar owners added “We do regular fire checks and have a fire drill in place, we also have inspections of our fire alarms and fire extinguishers. We also have members that are first aid trained and have first aid equipment on site. Emergency lighting is in place. We have no smoking signs indoors.”

A decision will be made on the application at a meeting of Cornwall Council’s licensing committee on Wednesday, May 8.