A RUGBY club said to be “the absolute hub for the community” has been awarded a new premises licence, despite concerns from a resident about noise and anti-social behaviour.
Meinir Thomas told a Carmarthenshire licensing sub-committee that she and her husband David had taken on the tenancy at Llandybie RFC to give something back to the community.
She said they knew the village well and felt they had a good understanding of the impact of the business on local residents.
Mrs Thomas told the committee that with this in mind they had asked for the licensing hours to be reduced compared to currently.
She said the club would not be for late-night drinking, and refuted a suggestion by a resident living opposite – Juliette Fane – that it would be more like a nightclub.
Mrs Thomas addressed two occasions in October which had given rise to Miss Fane’s concerns – the first a funeral wake, the second a Halloween party.
Miss Fane said she sympathised with the circumstances surrounding the wake but said she could hear singing from the inside the club while in her living room, and more noise from the car park outside.
Late on during the Halloween event, Miss Fane said she witnessed shouting, screaming, shoving and fighting in the car park.
“Nobody in the club appeared to come out and stop it, and ask that the noise be kept down,” she said.
“When police came, it took another 10 minutes or so for it to quieten down.”
She said she felt the licensing hours requested were “ridiculous” for such a built-up area, especially as there were residents in poor health or with very young children.
“I’m not against people having a good time,” she said. “What I am against is when it interrupts other people’s lives.”
Mrs Thomas said the funeral was the biggest the village had ever seen, and that she had spoken to several residents about it beforehand. She said the bar was closed “at a timely hour” and that she helped arrange taxis for guests between 10.45pm and 11.15pm.
“The whole venue was closed down by 11.30pm,” she said.
She said the Halloween party incident was a domestic one, with one of those allegedly involved arriving outside the club just before it kicked off.
Mrs Thomas said that she and her husband, on being made aware of an altercation in the car park, went out there to see what was going on, notwithstanding the fact they were both in Halloween costumes.
She said she when police officers arrived she instructed the bar staff to stop serving alcohol.
“The incident, as a whole, from beginning to end was no more than 30 minutes,” she said.
Mrs Thomas said the club had been at its Woodfield Road location since 1964 and was the absolute hub for the community.
The club’s current licence means only club members and bona fide guests can drink there.
Speaking in support of the application, Llandybie councillor Dai Nicholas said the supply of alcohol was a key income driver for the club, which had brought many young ruby players through its ranks over the years.
Dyfed-Powys Police did not object to the licence application, subject to several conditions being met, and after taking legal advice the licensing sub-committee granted it.
The new licence has a condition that no alcohol can be consumed outside after 10.30pm.
The Thomases will also put up signs reminding customers to limit noise when leaving the premises, and provide local residents with a means of contacting them in the event of a problem occurring.