Opposition over family entertainment centre planned for Bridport

Opposition over family entertainment centre planned for Bridport

Published by Maria Greenwood at 12:22pm 16th July 2020.

Residents living near to a yet to open family entertainment centre on St Andrew's trading estate at Bridport have maintained their opposition to it.

One suggested not granting the business an alcohol license at all and another said that the hours should be kept to 6pm.

A decision on a new premises licence for Seal's Cove is expected to be announced in the coming week after an online hearing on Wednesday.

The business wants to be able to sell alcohol from 11am until 11.30pm each day and to have an entertainment licence which will coincide with those hours, with an extra hour for New Year's eve and bank holidays.

Residents said that they feared disturbance from the venue itself and from people leaving and arriving and a fundamental change to their quiet evenings and weekends.

One said that a trading estate was simply not the place for an entertainment centre, especially one which sold alcohol until late in the evening.

Seals Cove Map

But the man behind the project, Chris Seal, said that the idea that it would be anything other than a family entertainment centre was wrong and promised that he would not allow it to become a drinking establishment, or nightclub, as some local people were claiming it would eventually become.

He said he was also taking steps to overcome potential parking problems and was investigating a free summer-only hourly bus service for patrons between the town and West Bay to and from the centre. It was claimed the building currently has around 50 parking spaces of its own.

Mr Seal said the business would be aimed at families and had rooms for family parties as well as a dining area, bar, soft play area and climbing wall.

'Job Opportunities'

He told the online licensing sub-committee hearing that he initially hoped to employ 10 full time and 10 part time staff and that many of these had already received appropriate training for their roles.

Dealing with the question of possible noise from the centre he said that modern insulation in the walls and ceiling should prevent the majority of noise 'leakage' but he would also have a professional sound test and set limits on equipment so that residents nearby would not be able to hear. They would also be given a telephone number for a duty manager should there be problems.

The hearing was told by Mr Seal's agent that although a drinks and entertainment licence was being asked for that was ancillary to what the business was aimed at, and the licence was being requested to give the business flexibility for the times it might be needed - such as family birthday party when adults and children were likely to attend.

Councillors heard that none of the statutory consultees had raised any objection to the licence.

Resident Simon Middleton
Resident, Simon Middleton

Mr Simon Middleton, representing a group of six familes, said he was surprised there had not been a full consultation with residents over the proposals prior to the application. He said it was only from reading submitted documents that he had discovered there could be over 100 people be in the premises, possibly more, at any time.

He said he was not against the centre but argued that at the moment it should be rejected and a further licence application brought forward later which could be negotiated with residents and council officers.

He said that at the moment there was no Sunday working on the estate but the proposed complex was asking for a seven-day opening until late, fundamentally changing life for residents.

Councillors have a range of options open to them including accepting the application, rejecting it, or agreeing it with alterations.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter