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Crookham residents officially raise concerns with Pinchington Hall in licensing review hearing

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Crookham residents have now had the chance to raise their concerns with Pinchington Hall in a licensing review last week.

Following a bid to become a wedding venue, which was refused by West Berkshire Council in September this year, neighbouring residents have raised concerns over the noise levels omitted from the venue.

The review, heard on November 12 and attended by members of Pinchington Hall, Thatcham councillors and residents close to the building, was a chance for each party to provide a ten minute speech outlining their thoughts on the licence remaining in place.

Pinchington Hall, owned by Phoenix Apartments, is now awaiting a decision on whether the premises license will be revoked.

The application was made, in October, by residents of Wellingtonia Drive and others living close to the hall, under section 51 of The Licensing Act.

The review is being sought on the grounds of the “undermining of the licensing objectives” of the following key issues: the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

The meeting was also attended by Thatcham councillor Simon Pike (Lib Dem, Thatcham West), and a written piece was provided by Thatcham mayor John Boyd, who was unable to attend.

Mr Boyd said: “The meeting was to see if the license should be reviewed.

“I assume there will be another meeting.”

Phoenix Apartments director Linda Beechey-Smith called the review “strange” and said: “We have not held any licensable activities, we have never operated the license at all.

“However some residents are asking for the license to be revoked.”

She added: “I do not know which way it will go, I stated my case but it’s a very difficult situation.

“I have suggested that we have a meeting with residents but they don’t want to talk to me. I don’t know why it is becoming such a big thing.”

The review has been discussed in recent Thatcham Town Council planning and highways meetings, in which ward councillors have supported efforts made by residents to review the licence.

Councillor Richard Foster (Lib Dem, Thatcham Colthrop and Crookham) has been following the application “since the beginning” and said the neighbouring houses are now “gradually becoming occupied.”

He added that support must be given by Thatcham Town Council “on behalf of not just those residents but actually the other residents who have been there a lot longer locally as well because it has shown itself to be a real nuisance."

Resident Mike Bloomfield has lived in the area for 23 years and said he is about 300 metres away from the hall and feels that the building should not be a “party venue” given its proximity to “family homes.”

He said: “We should not be putting party events where people will make noise, get excited and at times get drunk.”

Nigel Bryant is another resident who said he had also been subjected to noise and disturbance from the hall, and mentioned that guests can sometimes be heard “drunk, having breakfast at five in the morning.”

In September, Ms Beechey-Smith said that there had only been “two wedding receptions” and “two occasions” of private hire for the filming of music videos at the venue.

She said: “We hold a premises licence and have so far not held any licensable events but do operate strict house rules and these are also underpinned by regulations through Airbnb.”

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