COUNCILLORS have given their backing to a new “high-end” bar in Christchurch, despite opposition from people living nearby.

Tom’s Bar was granted a licence to operate from the former Roberta store in Church Road on Wednesday, following the decision of Christchurch council to grant planning permission in March.

Concerns had been raised about the impact noise and 1am closing times could have on people living directly above the bar.

Dozens of people objected to the planning application before it was approved, although almost 100 people wrote in support of the scheme.

Managing director of the business, which has provided mobile hospitality services since 2014, Tom Owen had opened the bar several times through use of temporary licences before the permanent agreement was considered by BCP Council, due to the level of opposition.

In his application Mr Owen said: “the intention is to provide a first-class establishment maintaining the integrity and character of the listed building while providing a welcoming, sophisticated space for those wishing to enjoy socialising and easy conversation.”

Representing him at the meeting of the licensing sub-committee on Wednesday, licensing lawyer Sandra Graham

“There have been no issues or complaints since it opened and it has shown everyone what the benefits will be,” she said.

“Mr Owen is a reputable licensed operator and has had no problems operating licences in the past.”

However, speaking at the meeting of the council licensing sub-committee on Wednesday, Sarah Parkinson, who owns one of the flats above the bar said there had already been issues.

“This is the only bar which has flats above and a 1am closing time is not fair or neighbourly,” she said.

Despite this, members of the council licensing sub-committee agreed to grant the licence with conditions restricting the time waste is moved and that no drinking is allowed outside.

The approved licence allows the bar to sell alcohol and play recorded music from 9am-11pm Sunday to Wednesday, 9am-12am Thursday and 9am-1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service at the end of the meeting, Mr Owen said he was going to open the bar straight away.