SEATON town centre will have a new pub after planning officers gave permission to convert the former Lloyd Maunder butcher’s premises in Queen Street.
Landlord and owner Gary Millar’s planning application to open a micro-pub split opinion. It overcame objections based on fears of drunken and anti-social behaviour, noise and even sexual intercourse in public in the area (apparently based on experiences from the days of The Grove Nightclub) – but had strong support from people keen to see the town centre rejuvenated.
The application was approved under delegated powers, which means the decision was made by officers, not by the councillors on the Development Management Committee.
East Devon District Council’s planning department received a total of 18 formal comments – ten in favour and eight against, Seaton Town Council being in the camp supporting the application.
A planning officer’s report described a micro-pub as “a small freehouse which listens to its customers, mainly serves cask ales, promotes conversation, shuns all forms of electronic entertainment and dabbles in traditional pub snacks.”
The report added: “Such a use therefore appears to differ from a traditional public house mainly on the basis of its scale, type of drinks served and entertainment offered.
“The concerns of local residents are noted and it is understood that they have in the past suffered from late night behavioural issues with people leaving The Grove Nightclub.
“In this regard, the proposed use is clearly different. The application is for the ground floor only of a relatively small unit.
“Whilst the size of the floor area does not in itself guarantee that there would be no anti-social behaviour or disturbance, it does indicate that the size of the unit is unlikely to be appropriate to accommodate a more traditional pub use.”
The pub is called ‘All Hat But No Cattle’ – a reference to Mr Millar’s dress sense of always wearing a hat and the fact that the pub takes over from the Lloyd Maunder butcher shop.
Mr Millar, who moved from Kent after having visited Seaton for a holiday, said: “It’s fantastic, I’m glad it (planning approval) came so I can open in time for Christmas It will be wonderful to offer people a taste of unusual beers and ciders.”
Planning conditions include:
*The premises shall not be open to the public other than between the hours of: 09.00 hours and 23.30 hours (Mondays – Saturdays) and 12.00 hours and 23.00 hours on Sundays.
*The use permitted is restricted to the ground floor of the building only and explicitly prevents the use of the forecourt, or any other associated external areas for external seating or drinking areas for use by customers.