A PLAN to open an outside drinking area at a popular Wollaston bar looks set to be given a temporary approval.

The team at the Kingsbridge Bar in Bridgnorth Road had created a courtyard seating area outside which proved a big hit with punters in the first few weeks of opening in September 2020.

But the venture failed to win planning permission back in March as it had not been part of the original planning approval and the owners were told it must close.

A revised application, however, has now been submitted to Dudley Council planners and it is expected to be approved at tonight's development control committee meeting.

Planning officers have recommended approval of the proposal which seeks retrospective permission for a change of use of the outside courtyard from a residential amenity to a public house outdoor seating area.

Stourbridge News: The beer garden of  The Kingsbridge Bar  at junction of of King Street and Bridgnorth Road . Cedit Dudley Council

A report to the committee told how the owners of the bar had bought the next door residential property, at 81 Bridgnorth Road, and converted part of the property's outside space to form an outdoor seating area for the bar.

Planners originally declined permission for it to be used as part of the pub following complaints from nearby residents and over concerns future occupiers of 81 Bridgnorth Road would be left without sufficient amenity space.

But the planning reports states: "The applicants have sought to find a solution."

It says permission has now been requested for use of the outdoor seating area for revised hours between 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 3.30pm on Sundays for a temporary period for one year so the effects on residents can be assessed.

Food service (such as sandwiches and cakes) in the garden would have last orders of 5pm and the amenity area of the neighbouring residential property would be increased from 10.5sqm to 27sqm by moving the existing fence line back into the seating area.

A number of letters of objection have been submitted - 15 in total - citing concerns including a possible increase in noise and worries about a lack of parking for a pub with a beer garden.

But support for the venture has been strong - with 90 letters of support commending the bar as an "excellent addition to the area", "dog friendly", "well-managed" and a "great place to visit between the lockdown restrictions".

The report concludes: "On balance, given the proposed reduction in the hours of operation of the outdoor drinking area and that a 12-month temporary permission is being sought, officers recommend approval.

"The temporary 12-month permission permits opportunity for any adverse impacts from the proposed change of use to be adequately assessed."