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NEW BAR: Club gets bar after reassuring residents

NEW BAR: Club gets bar after reassuring residents

Image: LDRS

A Walsall junior football team which almost folded as a result of Covid will be allowed to open a new bar after allaying fears of a “nightmare scenario” for residents.

Silverdale JFC has been granted permission by Walsall Council licensing bosses to open a bar at its Walstead Road base to help boost its finances.

But the plan initially sparked strong objections from people living nearby who feared regular late night drinking all week would result in noise, litter, parking problems and safeguarding issues.

A meeting on Monday (August 31), also heard they were upset the club had failed to engage with them on the plans.

Club officials apologised for the lack of consultation and vowed to work with the community in the future.

Adam Bunce-Sweeney, from Silverdale JFC, told the committee the bar would have limited opening hours – only operating when football was taking place.

This eased many of the fears residents Jane Taylor and Philip Fellows as well as ward councillor Hajran Bashir had, who attended the hearing to make representations.

Mr Bunce-Sweeney said: “The bar is designed to bring some additional finds into the club.

“We’ve been so badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s made it very difficult for us to operate and very near not being able to operate at all.

“We’ve got hundreds of children that play for our club and it is to give them and their parents a safe place for refreshments.

“The opening hours of the bar would not be open at any other time when there is going to be footballing activity taking place.”

“We’re not looking for passive trade. We’re not looking to bring people in off the street. It is going to be members only.”

He added: “I’d like to apologise to all of the residents for the lack of engagement.

“We’re a very new management committee and we’re starting to find our feet in the way of running the club.

“But we 110 per cent would love to engage with you. At the end of the day, this is your home, this is where you live and it’s where we play football and we want to work with the local community.”

He said they would be creating six parking spaces and had installed signs discouraging inconsiderate parking.

Mr Bunce-Sweeney also said they would send volunteers out litter picking in the area and keep noise to a minimum.

He reassured residents and the committee they have welfare officers within the club to take care of the children.

Mrs Taylor said: “The first sight of the application (which said) you were going to be open late and all week was a bit of a nightmare scenario for everyone.

“This is a quiet, peaceful and scenic road. And we all appreciate it as I’m sure you do.

“We wish you every luck with your activities but everyone is in the same boat with finance after the fiasco of the last two years. Let’s hope things will clear up and you’ll recoup something.

“We expect the noise of cheering and it is nice to hear but respect for the residents would be much appreciated.”

Mr Fellows said: “The level of engagement, over the years, has decreased. The relationship between the club and the residents needs to be improved.

“The licensing application caused concerns certainly with residents only finding out a couple of days beforehand.”

“The representations from the club have allayed a certain number of fears.”


Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter

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