Swillington Miners Welfare Club keen to avoid conflict after 21 Leeds locals oppose bid for new alcohol licence

A social club has insisted it doesn’t want to fight its neighbours, after 21 local people opposed its bid for a new alcohol licence.
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Swillington Miners Welfare Club, in south-east Leeds, has asked for permission to sell booze from its recently rebuilt pavilion, which looks out onto the village sports fields it runs.

One local resident told a council hearing the prospect of more noise coming from the venue “terrified” her.

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The club had applied for an alcohol licence for the pavilion, at the rear of the premises, to run until midnight every single night.

One local resident told a council hearing the prospect of more noise coming from the venue “terrified” her. Image: Google Street ViewOne local resident told a council hearing the prospect of more noise coming from the venue “terrified” her. Image: Google Street View
One local resident told a council hearing the prospect of more noise coming from the venue “terrified” her. Image: Google Street View

Booze is already served out of the club’s main building, on Wakefield Road, until midnight.

But at Tuesday’s hearing, club representatives clarified they’d only sell alcohol at the pavilion until 9pm, and that it would be empty by 10pm.

They said the move would help generate income for the venue, mainly from parents socialising while their children play football.

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However, objector Jacqui Smith told the meeting: “My residence is 100m from the actual structure of the pavilion.

“Certainly when there are galas on, I can write off that day as far as using my garden or outdoor space is concerned, because of the noise generated both by people and by music.

“The prospect of that being a weekly or even a daily occurrence terrifies me.”

Ms Smith claimed the idea was “designed to boost the income of the miners welfare club, rather than for the benefit of the community.”

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She said neighbours have to keep windows shut on occasions during summer, because of noise.

She added: “Because it’s infrequent, most residents feel obliged or comfortable to leave it and not complain. But the prospect of this being a weekly or daily occurrence is scary.”

The club completed the rebuilding of its pavilion this summer, after obtaining £350,000 worth of grant funding.

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Club committee member David Godley told the hearing: “We’re a community club.

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“We’re doing our best to maintain, during these difficult times, the facilities we’re providing for the village and the local vicinity.

“What we’re trying to do is to just make it more friendly for the people that come along to support the training sessions and also the matches.”

The club said it had only applied for a midnight cut-off on the advice of a council officer.

Promising that alcohol sales would cease after 9pm, Mr Godley added: “We certainly don’t wish to get into conflict with the local community.”

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“If I lived in the area I’d also object to live music belting out until midnight, but that was never the intention of the club.”

Garforth and Swillingon councillor Mark Dobson, who also objected to the club’s application, said promises about a 9pm cut-off could become meaningless in future, if a licence was granted.

He told the hearing: “I’m always prepared to listen and accept in good faith what they are saying, but nobody is around forever. Personnel changes and committees change.

“Having permission to sell alcohol until midnight is I don’t think in anyone’s interest.”

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If the new licence is approved, the club would be banned from using any external loudspeakers on its sports pitches, at the insistence of environmental health.

Club representatives indicated they would apply for temporary licences for speakers in future, which could allow them to be used for a single day or event.

All parties were told a decision on whether or not to grant the licence would be given in writing within five working days.

The club’s right to sell alcohol until midnight in its main building, on Wakefield Road, will not be affected by the outcome of this case.