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The Railway Inn at Christchurch wants permission for an outside bar

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PROBLEMS with customers fighting, swearing and vomiting should stop a Christchurch "party pub" from being allowed to erect an outside bar, neighbours have claimed.

The Railway Inn, in Stour Road, wanted permission from BCP Council to replace a former toilet block with a bar in its rear garden, sparking objections from residents.

But while 14 people had lodged letters of opposition, they were outnumbered by 25 people in support.

The Railway Inn at Stour Road, Christchurch (Photo: Google)
The Railway Inn at Stour Road, Christchurch (Photo: Google)

The pub argued neighbours would actually benefit from the changes as outdoor serving would end at 10.30pm and there would be a limit of eight customers allowed outside after that.

Currently, its licence allows it to sell alcohol and have customers outside up to 1am.

Ewen McGregor, the solicitor representing the Railway Inn, owned by Punch Taverns, claimed that would "improve" things for residents concerned about noise.

He also promised the pub would increase the number of CCTV cameras covering the back garden from two to five, and more staff would cover the outside area.

Mr McGregor pointed out Dorset Police and BCP Council’s environmental health team had not raised objections after mediation with the pub owner.

However, when the matter went to BCP Council’s licensing committee, some neighbours said they had experienced problems over the past 12 months.

Gus Cook said: "I speak for a number of residents for the past year, since April 2021 when the Railway reopened. We have been living unbearably close to what appears to be an open air party pub."

David O’Sullivan claimed he had video evidence of fighting outside the pub, and had cleared vomit and broken glass off his doorstep.

Customers had urinated in the street, he added, recalling an incident in which he overheard "lewd" jokes using "foul language" in the garden.

Both agreed if the outside bar was allowed, the lives of local residents would be made "considerably worse".

They said since Punch Taverns took over the pub it had shown more events on TV and advertised the garden as having a capacity of 120 people.

They also said company's attitude to their complaints was "one of callous disregard for what we have to endure".

Before the committee adjourned to consider its decision, one member, Cllr David Kelsey, speculated the pub’s bid could better "protect" the residents.

He also pointed out to neighbours that if they continued to experience issues with the pub, they could call for a review of its full licence at any time.

A decision will be announced by BCP Council later.

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