A RURAL club has been given permission to open for longer.
Gawthorpe Working Men’s Club can open from midday to midnight every day after the club’s committee members sought a licence change.
Approval came despite neighbours’ objections and after the club conceded their original bid to be allowed to open at 9am.
Gary Wilson, of the club at Gawthorpe Lane, Kirkheaton , said the 9am opening would have been rare – for events such as a World Cup match – but he agreed to amend the time to midday.
Kirklees councillors on the Licensing Panel made the decision after hearing from seven objectors at Huddersfield Town Hall yesterday.
Two club members and one resident spoke in favour of the club.
Rudy Tanghe, on behalf of the residents objecting, said: “The residents of Gawthorpe are very concerned that increasing hours at a small club will have serious consequences.”
He said that prior to 2005, when the club was granted a licence extension without residents knowledge, the Gawthorpe community had no problems with the club’s activities.
He added: “Since the increase in hours, Friday, Saturday and Sundays the roads are full of cars making it difficult for residents to access their own driveways.
“The marquee totally blocks the small car park from May or June until late September – marquee events are a major issue, the noise is intolerable.
“Gawthorpe is an idyllic, rural hamlet... any increase in existing hours will have a huge impact on the quality of life.”
Mr Wilson said: “We’ve had a few club members ask if we can open earlier, a few of them are older and others want to come in for a drink on their way home from work.
“It’s not financially viable for us to open if there’s only two or three members there later on.
“We’re not planning to open at 9am; it would be if there was a big match on early for a World Cup and club members wanted it.”
When pressed Mr Wilson admitted only three Gawthorpe residents had asked for the club to open earlier, and the remaining lived outside.
And the club’s committee agreed the marquee, which emerged as a main concern for residents at the meeting, would only be used once a year for the annual ball.
The panel, of Clrs Mumtaz Hussain, Steve Hall and Amanda Stubley, agreed the club could open noon-midnight, serve alcohol until 11.30pm with outside drinking banned after 10pm.
They also told them to install clear signs urging customers to use the club’s car park and not the narrow lane and to ensure noise is kept to a minimum.