ABERCRAVE is set to become the mecca for pool players from all across Wales.
It was revealed at a meeting of Powys County Council’s Licensing sub-committee that Paul Bushnell, who was applying for a new alcohol licence for the Village Sports Bar at the Abercrave Miners Welfare Hall and Institute, intends holding pool tournaments there.
At the hearing Mr Bushnell explained that he had been advised to apply for a premises licence from 8am to 12 midnight for Monday to Thursday, and 8am to 1am on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as well as New Year’s Eve and Bank holiday weekend.
When they found out nearby residents had been horrified and this led to several objections to the proposal, including one from the governors of a nearby primary school, Ysgol y Cribbarth.
Mr Bushnell told councillors that in fact, he only intended opening from 5pm to 10pm from Monday to Wednesday’s, 5pm to 12pm on Thursday, 12pm to 12am on Friday and on the weekend.
But at times, a 9am start would be needed on the weekend to allow tournaments to be completed in a day.
Mr Bushnell who is also a director of the Welsh Pool Association, said: “I run a lot of the Welsh ranking events; they are approximately every two to three weeks.
“They tend to start at 9am and go on until later than opening hours if they overrun – but that’s very rare.
“I never intended opening for them hours, I was advised to keep uniform hours across the board rather than mix them up.”
He believed this had led to residents’ concerns.
Mr Bushnell explained that tournaments, for juniors, men, ladies, and seniors could see around 80/90 people come to the hall to compete.
These events decide who plays for Wales in international events.
A few larger tournaments such as the prestigious “Welsh Closed” could see 170 to 180 people travel there to play there,
Mr Bushnell added that on Friday, when the opening hours would clash with the school’s, he would be happy with a condition stipulating no outside drinking during that time.
Objector Janet Williams said: “The hall is part of our heritage as a mining area and our families contributed to it.
“A number of us had many fears and queries as we knew very little of what was going on.
“The proposed opening hours to us were outrageous, especially as it seemed for every night of the week.
“It would have helped to have a public consultation.”
Mrs Williams believed that re-submitting the application with Mr Bushnell’s own suggested opening times would be the best option.
The committee retired to consider their decision
Upon their return, committee chairman, Cllr Mike Williams, said: “We have given very careful and serious consideration to the application, the decision is to grant the licence with modified conditions.”
Committee solicitor, Colin Edwards, explained that the licence would allow the sports bar to open from 5pm to 10pm for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
On Thursdays it would be allowed to open from 5pm to 12am (midnight).
Fridays 12pm to 12am, Saturday 9am until 1.30am and Sunday’s from 12pm to 10pm.
Mr Edwards said that no outside drinking allowed after 11am and that an outside drinking/smoking area would be identified by a licensing officer and the applicant.
Mr Edwards added that the licence could be subject to a review if any “problems arise.”