Sheffield City Council’s licensing sub-committee made the decision at a meeting (August 29) that considered objections from one neighbour on Campo Lane. The resident was worried about the potential for late-night disturbance and anti-social behaviour.
Michelle Hazlewood of legal firm John Gaunt and Partners represented licensee Chris Harris, a director of Out and About Bars. She said that the Wig and Pen was first licensed in 1968 and before that was solicitor’s offices.
Ms Hazlewood said that the impact of Covid meant that the former operators had gone into some form of insolvency that triggered the lapse of the licence after 28 days. It had not been lost because of any investigation by authorities such as the police.
She added: “It’s almost a tried and trusted premises, having been been there for a long period of time and not having caused problems historically.”
The premises expect to cater for the business community, professionals and visitors in the daytime and in the evening it will be a cocktail and wine bar with the offer of food on small plates.
The venue aims to work with the neighbouring Sheffield Cathedral to appeal to visitors to cathedral events.
Ms Hazlewood said that Mr Harris has more than 10 years’ licensed experience, including working in Sheffield venues Brown’s and Ego. His background is in cocktail mixology.
“He’s a well-tested operator and knows the Sheffield landscape very well,” said Ms Hazlewood.
She said that Mr Harris has applied for a licence to operate until 12.30am Monday to Thursday and Sunday and 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, in line with some premises in the immediate vicinity. The aim is also to avoid customers heading to West Street to continue their evenings out, with consequent disturbance in the area, as might happen if the Wig and Pen closed earlier.
Mr Harris hopes that 2am opening may tempt customers to make a night of it in his premises, rather moving on, she said.
The application included an entertainment licence to allow live and recorded music until midnight. Ms Hazlewood said that this would be solo and duo mainly acoustic performances to take place in parts of the building furthest from the nearest residential premises.
She said that, without the exact address for the objector prior to the day of the hearing, she had been unable to ascertain exactly where they lived in relation to the Wig and Pen.
The resident’s objection letter said she lived ‘two doors down’ from the bar. Ms Hazlewood said both her firm and the licensing officer had emailed the objector but she had not responded.
The neighbour’s objection email spoke of her being “deeply concerned about the potential adverse effects that granting this licence may have on the peace, safety and quality of life in our community”.
She voiced concerns about the potential for noise pollution and disturbance, plus anti-social and rowdy behaviour.
Ms Hazlewood said that neither the police nor environmental health officers had voiced any concerns about the application. “It will be a lovely extra addition to that offer in the town centre,” she added.
Councillors agreed to grant the application.