New neighbours often get to know each other over a drink – but when one of them announces they intend to open a micro bar, relations can quickly turn sour.
When Merlijn Jassey moved into her new home in Chorley in June, the shop next door sold sweets. Just weeks later, she was horrified to learn that the premises - on Babylon Lane in Adlington - could soon be swapping pear drops for beer hops, when the new operator’s plans were unveiled.
And as Chorley Council’s licensing panel met to decide whether to approve the new venture, Mrs. Jassey was there to tell them why she felt it could force her young family to move out.
“If we’d known a pub was going to open next door, we would never have gone for this property,” she told councillors.
“We have serious concerns that our children’s sleep will be disturbed, which will affect their performance at school. There will be no peace and quiet in our home anymore.
“We work hard during the day and when we come home, we want to relax with our children - and all that would be put in jeopardy if this licence were granted,” Mrs. Jassey said.
Members also heard that the family feared their children would be subjected to smoke and bad language in their own backyard from drinkers who had gathered outside for a cigarette.
But Chris Carney, the applicant’s licensing consultant, told the meeting that the proposed micro bar is a very different business to the traditional pub.
“By definition, micro bars cater for a handful of people - they are for people who enjoy a quieter setting than most pubs,” Mr. Carney said.
“Unlike pubs with 20 or 30 people in them, there will usually be just three or four.”
He added that the background music in the venue would be no louder than the “average TV”.
Businessman Darren Tickle, who came up with the concept for the terrace property, also offered a series of on-the-spot concessions.
He pledged to soundproof the adjoining wall with Mrs. Jassey’s house, build a covered smoking shelter away from her fence and keep doors and windows closed during the performance of live music.
And Mr. Tickle added that music wasn’t going to be a hallmark of the venue, which will be aimed at discerning drinkers.
“I’m not going to put live music on at ridiculous hours. I’ve got young children myself - I’d rather work with you than fall out with you,” he said.
It was enough to persuade councillors on the committee, who approved the licence, subject to the added suggestions made by the bar owner - although the promise of soundproofing was not included as a formal condition.
After the meeting, Mrs. Jassey admitted that she was “a bit disappointed” by the decision - but willing to try to “make the best of things” with her new neighbour.
Mr. Tickle added: “We don’t want to jeopardise the sleeping pattern and the upbringing [of young children] - we’ll do anything we can to make sure it’s amicable.”
And with phone numbers exchanged and hands shaken, there was only one thing left - an offer of drink on the house when the bar opens its doors.