Brewer and pub operator Thwaites has won a landmark High Court case granting one of its pub-with-rooms an extended licence despite the objections of local residents.
Thwaites' Saughall hotel in the Wirral, near Liverpool, will now be able to retain a late licence until 3am despite magistrates ruling in favour of a 1am close and supporting the opposition of the Saughall Massie Village Conservation Society.
The pub operator has pursued the case for the past 18 months looking to overturn the initial rejection of an extended licence.
A High Court judge has now ruled that the decision was not evidence based and must be overturned.
Thwaites' retail director Paul Howarth said he hoped the ruling, the first of its kind to reach the High Court since the Licensing Act (2003) was introduced in November 2005, would create clearer industry guidelines in the future.
"This was never about Thwaites taking on a group of residents local to one of our pubs, and in that regard it is a very hollow victory because we always pride ourselves on being at the heart of the communities we serve.
"However, it was very important for the future that we could not allow Wirral magistrates to set a precedent by basing the decision on their views as opposed to coming to a conclusion on the evidence."
Thwaits said that evidence in the Saughall's favour included a positive representation from the local police, a proven track record and the support of other village residents. It describes the site as a family pub that was only seeking the 3am licence to host family parties and gatherings.
By Christopher Walton
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