A trouble-hit pub will become the only boozer in a Kent town to remain open beyond midnight - despite fears it will cause residents “misery”.
Councillors have given the green light to plans to extend the opening times at the Old Wine Vaults in Faversham by two hours on Fridays and Saturdays.
Papers show the tavern will be able to serve alcohol and play recorded music until 1am on the busy weekend nights, before locking up half-an-hour later.
But the proposals attracted objections from several neighbours - with some claiming to have seen vomiting, drug-taking and brawling near the Preston Street business during the day.
A resident writing to Swale Borough Council ahead of a meeting of its licensing sub-committee meeting on Tuesday said: “I have witnessed a young person openly taking a line of coke in public, the regular use of the alleyway as a public toilet, and even people brawling in the street having left the pub in daylight hours
“I dread to think what further misery would be caused if later night opening was permitted.”
A letter sent to the council on behalf of six people living in nearby Gatefield Lane also detailed “frequent vomiting, urinating, and drugs use and dealing” close to their homes.
But solicitor Alex Green - who was representing the owners of the premises, Craft Union Pub Company - insisted those running the boozer had “turned things around” since taking over the site in January.
“The premises previously had a mixed reputation,” he explained. “However, the current operator, who’s been there since the beginning of the year, has turned things around nicely.
“Many patrons actually have been barred under the new management, there have been very few problems at all.”
The pub was previously known as the Hole in the Wall, before becoming the Old Wine Vaults, and has been through changes of operator since.
Mr Green also stressed it had recently been open until 1.30am under temporary permits, and had no problems.
Local Victoria Beecher, who attended the meeting to object to the plans, told of noise which “at current hours allowed is impossible to live with”.
"The current operator, who’s been there since the beginning of the year, has turned things around nicely..."
She branded the prospect of the pub remaining open into the early hours as “terrifying”.
The resident also voiced concerns the plans would allow the business to play music at a “nightclub level” until 12.30am.
“I’ve recently had windows all double glazed to reduce the noise and to replace a smashed window by some drunken revellers a few months ago - but the noise is still unbearable,” Ms Beecher added.
“It’s become more like an inner-city documentary on mayhem around there.
“It is not fair. I’ve paid for my house, and I should be able to enjoy some peace and quiet.”
Ms Beecher labelled the request for a late licensing “unconscionable”, adding “I would not even be able to sell my house, so I couldn’t even move”.
However, Mr Green maintained that the Old Wine Vaults is not to blame for the antisocial behaviour. He also said disruptive revellers are to be expected in the area.
“Most of the objectors are concerned about the noise and general antisocial behaviour - which are societal issues in the town,” the solicitor added.
“I fully respect that, but there’s no evidence whatsoever that any of these issues are caused by this specific premises.
“Beyond the immediate area of the premises these are matters for the personal responsibility of individuals under the law.”
Despite the objections, Swale Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee granted the request for a two-hour extension of the opening, alcohol serving, and recorded music playing hours on Fridays and Saturdays.
The venue has previously had door staff on Fridays and Saturdays, but as per an agreement reached with the police, door staff are now mandated by their new licence.
They imposed an additional condition that a noise limiter be used on the pub’s sound system after 11pm. It will be set at a level determined by a qualified acoustic consultant.
Until now, the Leading Light Wetherspoon pub in Preston Street had been the premises with the latest closing time of midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.