Row over plans to expand two Wickersley bars

By Gareth Dennison | 16/02/2018

Row over plans to expand two Wickersley bars
The Courtyard

A ROW is brewing over plans to expand two village bars - with residents saying the night-time scene is a "victim of its own success".

Wickersley has become a destination of choice for evening entertainment as Rotherham town centre has declined in recent years.

Now, both the Olive Lounge and The Courtyard have announced plans to expand on the same stretch of Bawtry Road - but borough councillors and residents are up in arms.

One resident said she had noticed a deterioration in her parents' health from living close to the increasingly lively bar area.

She added: "They are being kept awake by loud music, often til 1am, which shakes the windows, bottles being smashed, fights breaking out and people urinating on neighbours walls, not to mention vomit everywhere.

"These establishments are bringing footfall and money into the village but at the expense of residents, who now dread the weekends."

The Courtyard wants to knock through to an adjacent unit for a new restaurant and champagne bar, creating six jobs.

A spokesman said: "There will be an upmarket and more exclusive theme to the new extension area. 

"This will mean that a choice of more exclusive food and beverages will be offered to customers."

Meanwhile, the Olive Lounge's proposal to convert the nearby butchers store into a real ale bar would bring 12 jobs.

An Olive Lounge spokesman said: "Our establishment has operated for just over two years and has seen business growth month-on-month.

"We have gained an excellent reputation and have noticed a significant increase in visitors travelling from further afield, including Doncaster, Sheffield and Bawtry.

"We feel that this application could be beneficial for Wickersley as there is no other venue like this in the area."

But Wickersley councillors have objected to both plans over noise nuisance, parking and antisocial behaviour.

RMBC ward members Cllrs Chris Read, Emma Hoddinott and Sue Ellis issued a statement detailing their worries over The Courtyard plan. 

They said: "Over the last few years we've received increasing numbers of complaints from residents and we are concerned that this current application would make the situation worse.

"As we have seen the decline of Rotherham town centre, Wickersley appears to have become the destination of choice for evening entertainment for a wide area of Rotherham.

"However, if Wickersley is to keep its successful residential and community feeling, it needs to keep a mixed retail offer and not just become the drinking hub for the whole of Rotherham."

There are four bars and four restaurants which serve alcohol within a few hundred yards. Five of these venues have outdoor areas.  

In its Olive Lounge objection, Wickersley Parish Council said: "While we welcome the attractiveness of Wickersley as an evening venue, it is becoming a victim of its own success.

"This is already leading to issues of late evening noise, parking shortage, traffic congestion and highway safety concerns arising from the number of parked and queuing taxis,particularly at weekends."

Both planning applications will be decided by RMBC in due course.

What do you think? Go to our poll to have your say.

Plus, see next week's paper for a special feature on the future of the town centre. 

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