BOURNEMOUTH’S council leader has failed in his attempt to block the opening of a new micro pub – despite his claims that elderly neighbours would suffer because they “go to bed at 7pm”.

Cllr John Beesley said All Hail Ale’s application to transform a derelict restaurant on Queen’s Road, Westbourne, into a niche bar serving real ales and craft beers posed “a serious risk of harm” to nearby residents.

“The evening for many elderly people is when they go to bed,” he told the borough’s licensing board at their July meeting.

“So it’s just not good enough to accept that they go to bed at the kind of hour many younger people might do.

“Many elderly people go to bed at 7pm or 8pm at the very latest, and therefore their quiet enjoyment is something that will be interfered with adversely by the establishment of a pub directly opposite where they live.”

Cllr Beesley, a Westbourne ward councillor, then described a recent visit he made to nearby retirement block Wellington Court.

“I was very struck by the intensity of fear and concern," he said.

“It wasn’t a sense of anger, it was fear and concern that this would be a retrograde step for those facing Queen’s Road in light of what they have experienced before.”

Cllr Beesley cited residents’ past complaints about noise from the now closed Pig and Whistle pub, also on Victoria Road.

But All Hail Ale’s owner Peter Hector said he respects his neighbours and believes the new offering will enhance the area for them.

“Craft and real ale drinkers, from my experience, are not loud," he said.

“I’m 57 this year, I’m not exactly a spring chicken. I want somewhere I can converse with the clients without having to shout over the bar, and sit down with the clients if necessary and have a chat.

“As I said to the residents at Wellington Court, they are more than welcome to come in and do exactly the same thing."

Mr Hector, who plans to offer a broad range of British real ales and craft beers, added that he would provide newspapers for the residents as well as the opportunity to enjoy playing small table games such as Dominoes.

The site was last used as a Himalayan restaurant, which closed in 2014 and whose owners surrendered its previous licence in October.

Mr Hector had entered into mediation with concerned residents and Environmental Health prior to the meeting, agreeing to reduced hours, stating there would be no live music on the premises and pledging to enforce a Challenge 25 policy and install CCTV.

Dorset Police made no objection to the plans.

Granting permission for Mr Hector to serve alcohol until 10.30pm, licensing board chairman Cllr Andrew Morgan said the evidence presented in objection was “not compelling”.

“This will bring an empty premises back to life,” he added.