Rescued Saffron Walden pub may lose its licence after complaints by residents

After a meeting to review its licence, The Axe on Ashdon Road will stay open - but with reduced open

After a meeting to review its licence, The Axe on Ashdon Road will stay open - but with reduced opening hours at the weekends - Credit: Archant

A Saffron Walden pub saved by its community may lose its licence after complaints by residents.

On Monday, Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) licensing committee could revoke the licence at The Axe, in Ashdon Road, following more than 20 complaints between December last year and July.

In 2013, residents fought to stop the building being turned into housing.

However, some people are fed up with the “noise nuisance” and “anti-social behaviour” caused by ­customers – mainly on Friday and Saturdays when the pub has a 1am licence – while the landlord says he is doing all he can to minimise disruption.

Father-of-two Steve Temblett, who has lived in Ashdon Road for 10 years, said: “The original campaign was to save the pub.

“It was just a bog standard pub really – people went in to drink and used it as a place for the community.

“Throughout the campaign there was a lot of talk of having a family pub, keeping it as a community pub, this time serving food as well. That part of it hasn’t materialised.

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“There’s a lot of noise leaving the pub at night – shouting and ­slamming doors.

“Most people support there being a pub, though. We just want a nicer atmosphere and food to be served, too.”

Louise Wilkinson, who moved to Ashdon Road last year, said: “With the noise it can be difficult to get our children, Grace and Rose, to bed.

“I am sure there are good things happening at the pub but this is our home and if the noise is too loud we have nowhere else to go.”

The licensing committee will review the license at a meeting at UDC offices, on London Road, on Monday afternoon.

Pub manager Steve Kienlen, who took over in May, said: “Frankly, it is ridiculous as far as I am concerned.

“There is a small group who constantly complain but I feel the lion’s share believes that things are going in the right direction.”

Mr Kienlen, previously at The White Horse, in Newport, said: “We escort all customers off the premises at closing time, we stop playing music half-an-hour before we have to, and I monitor the level of the music.

“I have been a licensee for five years and I have never known anything like this before.

“This is a pub dripping with ­potential and if they take my licence I will lose my livelihood.”

The chairman of the licensing committee, Councillor Doug Perry, who was instrumental in saving The Axe, said: “I was on the planning committee and I turned down the houses because I said it was not appropriate for the area.

“My understanding from what I have read is there has been a problem for some time.

“I have to keep an open mind. As far as I was concerned I kept it in the community for the community. I will have to balance the facts when they are presented.”