Liversedge pub forced to close its doors after complaint over outside space

A Liversedge pub has closed its doors after a neighbour complained to Kirklees Council about the use of its outside area.

By Jessica Barton
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 12:30 pm
Steve Hemingway, landlord at The Brew House in Liversedge

As the Covid-19 restrictions were eased as the country gradually emerged from lockdown, The Brew House, on Halifax Road, converted some of its car park into a beer garden - following Government guidance - allowing the business to re-open.

But Kirklees Council has now enforced a planning condition that requires all outside space, including the beer garden, to be cleared, after a complaint from a neighbour.

The pub has complied with the enforcement notice but, due to the size of the bar area, it is not viable to continue trading without the use of its outside space and has therefore had to close its doors.

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Steve Hemmingway, manager of The Brew House, said he and his wife Wendy, who took over the business three years ago, are “absolutely devastated” after they closed on Easter Monday, April 18.

Steve said: “It’s just daft. I am trying to make it a better place and to brighten it up but a neighbour just has this grievance all the time.

“We have always been under the illusion that during Covid-19, we could have outside seating.

“There is still Covid-19 around and a lot of my customers don’t want to sit inside The Brew House. They want to sit outside in the sun.

“Like Boris says on the website, the Government regulations from December last year state that any pub, bar or restaurant that has a car park can have a marquee outside on their land, without no planning permission, indefinitely - to help encourage local communities to get back together and to start socialising again.

“I pay a lot of rent for the building and without the bar and the outdoor space it’s not profitable.

“Until we get Clause 73 of the Planning Act removed or the planning changes - which could drag on for months - I can't afford to pay the high rent here and it will end in a full closure.

“A petition has been set up to try and overturn it and to get some weight behind us and within three hours of the petition going live we had 500 signatures.

“I want to thank everyone for supporting us. It is overwhelming.”

Lynne Marshall, of the pub’s loyal customers, said: “It is devastating for them.

“It’s a massive place but it’s mainly all the brewery, meaning the pub part is really small.

"It is a long bar, a couple of rows of seats and a few tables.

“His trade there in summer is mainly people who go because they can sit out.

"It is not viable and they can't keep it open just for the pub - it is just not worth it.

“They are just lovely people and I was a bit of a pain really because I’m vegan and I kept saying ‘Steve, I can't drink your beer’ - because he brews his own beer - and bless him he went and changed the way he brewed.

“I just couldn't believe it, but that is what kind of people they are. Since then we have been pretty much every week.

“Just being there on the last day and talking to customers who live very local, they are all gutted.

“Steve and Wendy have got a lot of support in this area, which shows through the petition.”

The advice on the Government website, posted on December 20, 2021 states: “Measures originally introduced during the pandemic will now be made permanent following public consultation.

“Pubs, cafes and restaurants will now be able to install gazebos on their own land without planning permission, helping them to better make use of their outside space all year round.”

However, Kirklees Council has stated that The Brew House needs to apply for planning permission.

David Shepherd, strategic director for growth and regeneration at Kirklees Council, said: “The Brew House pub in Liversedge had a breach on one of the conditions of their planning permission, which relates to using parking areas as additional outdoor seating space.

“This has caused noise and disturbance, and resulted in complaints.

“A representative of The Brew House pub has now confirmed that the area has been reverted back to a car park, which means the establishment can operate within its lawful permission should it choose to re-open.

“To support hospitality businesses to re-open safely following Covid-19 lockdown measures, the Government introduced planning changes to give greater flexibility for outdoor dining and drinking.

“It meant that land could be used, without the need for a planning application, to set up marquees or outdoor seating for example.

“These temporary national rules expired on December 31, 2021 and now planning permission would be needed.”

The petition has been set up in support of a planning application, which requests the removal of the planning condition which, in turn, will allow the beer garden to be reinstated and The Brew House to re-open.

It currently has 1,941 signatures.

To sign the petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/help-the-brew-house-liversedge-to-reopen-by-supporting-their-planning-application-to-open-a-beer-garden

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