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Sheltered housing residents object to Bishop's Stortford bowling alley plans

Jane and Lara Fraser, the co-owners of Ace of Lanes Picture: Vikki Lince
Jane and Lara Fraser, the co-owners of Ace of Lanes Picture: Vikki Lince

Residents of Nicholls Lodge sheltered housing are hoping to score a strike against Bishop's Stortford's new Ace of Lanes bowling alley.

Fraser Capital Investments has applied to East Herts Council for a premises licence at the Anchor Street leisure centre, including permission to play music and sell alcohol.

The application was due to be heard by EHC’s licensing sub-committee on September 10, but the meeting was cancelled and is now set to take place on Monday, October 8.

Originally, the application asked for approval to operate from 9am to 11.30pm Sundays to Thursdays with an extension to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. There will be a Challenge 21 policy for alcohol sales and a ban on under-18s in the bar area after 9.30pm unless they are eating a meal with an adult.

The new proposals would see the alley close at midnight, with all licensable activities ceasing at 11.45pm. In addition, the external area would shut to drinkers at 10pm rather than 10.30pm.

As part of their plans for the £1m venture, Brian Fraser, wife Jane and daughter Lara want to make structural changes to the premises, which last operated in 2013 as 1st Bowl.

The family, who also own the neighbouring Bacchus bar, are adding a new canopy, windows and doors to the alley, plus an extended external seating area facing the river. They are also reconfiguring the entrance and redesigning the interior to accommodate their vision for a state-of-the-art alley and virtual reality golf range.

Five objections opposing the original application were received. Two were withdrawn following the changes, but three remain.

A report by officers tells sub-committee members: “The main causes for concern are identified by the interested parties as the use of the external area and the impact this may have on residential flats the other side of the river. One representation goes wider than this and touches on the noise in general.”

The manager of Nicholls Lodge wrote: “As this lodge is for the more elderly generation, there would be great concern for noise and disturbance, especially on an evening.”

The daughter of a resident objected on her behalf: “It is amazing how you can clearly hear the conversations of people walking along the towpath, so to have a verandah directly opposite where many people will be sitting, let alone having the music that invariably plays in these places pumping out all day long, will be extremely disturbing.”


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