Lido drinks bid sparks concern

BECCLES residents have hit out at plans to serve alcohol and play music at the town’s open air swimming pool.

Beccles Lido Ltd has submitted an application for a premises licence to enable the sale of alcohol and for regulated entertainment at the pool on Puddingmoor. The application is due to be discussed by Waveney District Council’s licensing premises panel today.

The district council has received 32 letters of objection from residents on Puddingmoor, with many citing concerns about noise, safety and parking issues.

Residents Sian and Colin Reeve say: “Not only is the proposed venue a swimming pool, but it is in very close proximity to the River Waveney – alcohol and water is a dangerous mix.

“Secondly Puddingmoor is a natural amphitheatre and as such noise from functions would reverberate around the area causing a nuisance not only to immediate neighbours but those in surrounding roads…

“Parking is already an issue in the day – to cope with this at night and with those that have been drinking could lead to a volatile situation.”

Fellow resident John Harkness said: “I thoroughly support Beccles Lido and those who have been responsible for its restoration as an open air swimming pool. As such it is a great asset to the community.

Most Read

“However, I consider its supplementary use as proposed in the application, would inevitably lead to unacceptable levels of noise – especially in the stillness of the evening – and the additional risk of anti-social behaviour, no matter what the safeguards.

“I would also have thought that alcohol and swimming were not particularly compatible.”

Beccles Lido Ltd is seeking permission to be able to sell alcohol every day from noon until 11pm, from May to September, to private hire functions only. It is also seeking permission to be able to play recorded music every day between 6.30pm and 11pm to accompany private hire functions only, with the option of a midday start if requested.

Beccles Lido director Shaun Crowley said that if the application was successful it would help generate extra revenue for the facility, but he stressed that this was not the primary reason for doing so.

“When we initially set out our business plan to Waveney District Council over two years ago we believed that we would have to do absolutely everything by way of additional fund raising activities and we knew that Waveney had from time to time hired the swimming pool to clubs,” he said.

“When we spoke to other similar facilities they said ‘yes of course we hire to clubs, but also to birthday parties and charter events’.”

Mr Crowley said the lido had already hosted private parties for its lifeguards and volunteers and successfully applied for a temporary event notice (TEN) earlier in the season for an event for St Benets Wasps Football Club who were hosting Dutch football side SC Hoevelaken.

“We have a fantastic facility of which Beccles should be proud,” he added. “From time to time people in Beccles want to take advantage of that in the evening. This would not be every night or every weekend. These would be well-run and well-supervised events and not boisterous.

“We absolutely want to work with the residents of Puddingmoor to make sure we do not take advantage of them and do not excessively inconvenience them.”