COMPLAINTS: Residents claim Wirral restaurant is harming their families
Stanley Road, in New Ferry, Wirral, where the premises is based, Image: Google
Residents living near to a Wirral restaurant said it is harming their families, amid claims that one of its customers urinated in front of a child.
The accusation was made at today’s meeting of Wirral Council’s Licensing Panel, which was discussing complaints made by residents about Freddie’s Bar on Stanley Road in New Ferry.
The bar has only been open since June, with the premises being used as a sports club and a Conservative club before that.
Although it has planning permission to operate as a restaurant, today’s panel was advised that it should not affect their decision if it operated as something in between a bar and a restaurant in practice.
Freddie’s is currently allowed to sell alcohol between 11am and 11pm from Monday-Saturday, and between midday and 10.30pm on Sundays.
Today’s three-councillor panel had the option of adding conditions to the restaurant’s alcohol licence, revoking it altogether or taking no action.
One of the spokespersons for the residents group said some of the restaurant’s customers had been known to “role around fighting, screaming and swearing in the community”.
She added that there were six separate reports of public urination by customers, including three in broad daylight, two of which involved people’s garden walls and another which was seen by a child.
The resident added that people would urinate on the way to the premises and on the way back, with one person urinating behind a police patrol car.
She continued her address to the committee by saying the business has brought crime, disorder and public nuisance to the area and that residents such as teachers, nurses and other health workers deserve a rest on the weekend without being disrupted by noise coming from Freddie’s.
The resident painted the picture of a lively, noisy bar and suggested it would be better off in the centre of New Ferry, rather than in a residential area.
She said that when residents complained they were abused and ridiculed, with some customers telling them to f*** off among other insults and incitements to physical violence, and that this was left unchallenged by the restaurant’s owners.
Several residents sent letters to the council, detailing their problems with the restaurant.
One person said that patrons leave the premises to take drugs in the community, including in areas where children play, before going back into the venue.
Another resident said the noise coming from the restaurant was so loud that they had to close their windows and move their children out of their bedrooms.
At the meeting, another local resident said one issue with Freddie’s Bar was the “nauseating odour” and the smell of “rancid fat” coming from the premises.
She also suggested the premises may have served alcohol to underage people on more than one occasion.
However, officers from Wirral Council’s licensing, environment and planning teams had visited the premises on multiple occasions and could not back up the reports residents had made.
The panel was told this did not mean the complaints were not true, but simply that the council was not able to find evidence to support the claims.
Seizing on this, Matthew Reynolds, a solicitor representing Katrina Sandland, who owns Freddie’s, said it was clear that the complaints made at today’s meeting were not supported by independent evidence from council officers.
He added that he believed there was a concerted campaign from certain residents who simply did not want a bar to be developed in the area.
Mr Reynolds added that he had submitted evidence to the panel that a resident shouted to staff at Freddie’s that they “didn’t want this f***ing pub”, which he felt went to the crux of the reason behind many of the objections.
He also denied that the premises has served alcohol to under 18s, or that it has a problem with drug use.
Ms Sandland agreed, saying that she had been harassed from the moment she tried to open Freddie’s and that it had made her question whether she had made the right decision in investing in the pub.
She added that threats had led to some staff leaving their jobs at the restaurant and that for all those who complained about the restaurant the same amount loved it.
The Licensing Panel must report its decision within the next five working days, which could be to add extra conditions to the restaurant’s licence, revoke it altogether, or leave it as it is.
Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter
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