A new Hereford “micro-distillery” can serve drinks until 10pm each night – despite concerns it will cause disturbance locally.

Paul Kenyon gained planning permission to set up the Golden Wake Distillery in an abandoned toilet block in the St Martin's car park south of the Old Bridge at the start of this year.

But it was claimed at a licensing meeting yesterday (November 3) that a subsequent licensing application by Mr Kenyon was for a rather different sort of enterprise.

Coun Kevin Tillett, ward member for Hinton & Hunderton in which the car park lies, said: “Only one resident objected to the original planning application, which was for a micro-distillery. There was no mention of on-site sales or drinking.

“But this is a very different beast. A lot of residents feel, understandably, cheated and tricked.”


This he had ascertained by “knocking on every door in St Martin’s Avenue and St Martin’s Street”, he said. “We didn’t find a single resident who did not have concerns about this licence.”

These concerns ranged from the impact on street parking locally, on families with children visiting the nearby playground and swimming pool and on other foot and cycle traffic, to fears it would add to anti-social behaviour and littering in the area, he said.

And while conditions had been proposed and agreed to address some of these, “who will monitor and enforce them?” Coun Tillett asked.

However Nick Semper, agent for Mr Kenyon, said the distillery would be selling drinks “reassuringly expensively priced at £27-35 a bottle”, and the “tap house-style room” would simply allow customers to sample these, until 10pm, without amplified music or outdoor consumption.

Mr Kenyon added that the premises would also serve wine and beer, “for those that don’t like gin, vodka or rum”, and that the size of the premises would limit customer numbers to “12 to 16”.

The previously derelict building and its surrounds were “an eyesore that detracted from the entire area” which Mr Kenyon had already expended some effort to make more attractive as part of the £40,000 he had already invested, Mr Semper said.

Meanwhile the police had raised no outstanding objections over crime or anti-social behaviour in the vicinity, which had indeed been made safer through the addition of CCTV to the front and rear of the building, he added.

Nor had environmental health, trading standards, children’s services or public health representatives objected, he pointed out, saying the concerns expressed over the proposal “are based on speculation rather than evidence”.

This appeared to persuade the committee, who agreed to grant the licence subject to agreed conditions.