Bracklesham villagers contest Pond Barn licensing

Flooded out - The Pond Barn Restaurant, Bracklesham
Flooded out - The Pond Barn Restaurant, Bracklesham

A BUSINESS-owner has defended his pub against residents concerned about anti-social behaviour.

Simon Reynolds, who runs Pond Barn Country Club 
in Bracklesham with his son, was granted a new premises licence at an alcohol and entertainment licensing sub-committee meeting on Monday.

But the application was met with outcry from neighbouring villagers who turned out in force to raise issues over noisy music and customers’ behaviour.

“The place had a history of not being a very nice place to go,” said Mr Reynolds.

“That is not what we are interested in. We have changed our clientèle.”

Mr Reynolds said there was now no admittance to people after 10.30pm who were coming out of other pubs in the area.

“There is no intention of ever having music outside in the garden,” he said.

He agreed to conditions proposed by Sussex Police and the Environmental Health Authority, including restriction of the licensing hours to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

“Our proposed opening hours are too late,” he said. “We have agreed restricted hours.”

He also agreed to keep a complaints book and not to handle bottles, kegs and gas cylinders after 9pm.

However, Mr Reynolds fought against proposals to prevent people drinking outside after 9pm.

“On a nice summer evening, I’m sure everyone has sat in a beer garden and enjoyed a glass of whatever.

“I just want to be treated fairly and equally.”

More than 30 representations were written to Chichester District Council from respondents including East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish Council and Sussex Police.

Objector Brian Daniels 
said: “I live 70ft away from the pub entrance. We are constantly disturbed by the people outside. I’m not saying the music is deafening, but it is the constant noise of a bass drum.”

One resident said since the club had ‘focused as a sports bar’, there was an increase in ‘drunken foot traffic’ through the village.

Mr Reynolds said claims Pond Barn has now become a sports bar which ‘attracts the wrong kinds of people’ is a ‘gross misstatement’.

“Someone said we have apparent problems on most days. I have written down ‘complete tosh’.” He said it was a ‘misconception’ Pond Barn was a music venue and listed all 17 events, including wakes, at Pond Barn since taking over.