A THORNTON pub will be able to keep letting customers drink in a community garden following a licensing meeting.

A review into the licence of the Watchmaker at South Square was held in City Hall on Friday.

It had been called by a member of the public, who said the use of a garden to the rear of the community centre by customers of the pub was making the lives of neighbouring residents a misery.

After hearing from residents who made the complaint, the owners of the pub and a local Councillor, members of the Bradford Licensing Panel decided there was not enough evidence of nuisance noise for the Council to curtail the business' use of the garden.

The community garden, to the rear of South Square, recently underwent a major refurbishment as part of works to the Grade II listed building.

Since then the garden has been used by customers of the Watchmaker - which is based at the front of the centre.

South Square Centre opens replica Bronte Parsonage and Bell Chapel

Customers are asked to leave the garden area by 7.30pm. However, 13 residents had written to the Council to say the noise of the pub customers in the garden was beginning to effect their lives.

Andy Dewsbury and Avril Kelly, who live near the garden and had called for the review, spoke at the meeting.

Mr Dewsbury said: "The South Square garden is not an appropriate place to introduce a beer garden. it produces a significant amount of noise.

"It is too close to residential properties and has a detrimental effect. We want to be able to relax and enjoy our gardens. You have written submissions describing the distress the beer garden has caused. It has prevented us from enjoying our property."

He said he supported South Square, and just wanted the pub to stop using the garden, rather than for the business to close.

Mrs Kelly said she could not open her windows in Summer, and could hear individual conversations when people were in the beer garden.

Gareth Abraham, who runs the Watchmaker, said the pub stopped using the garden at 7.30pm, and that most of the Thornton community were behind the pub.

He said the garden had recently featured on Look North and in the Telegraph & Argus due to its Bronte themed hedgehog homes.

He added: "We have had no issues with authorities like police and environmental health. The objections are without foundation. If it is as bad as they are saying, we'd expect some evidence. There are no dates of incidents or recordings of how bad it is. It's a fantasy."

Councillor Richard Dunbar, (Lab, Thornton and Allerton) said he disagreed with the term beer garden, saying it was a community garden used by the pub.

He said that as a Councillor had had more complaints about the state of the garden before the refurbishment than he has had over the garden being used by the pub.

Mrs Kelly added: "There is no way we would have gone to all this trouble to bring this complaint if the noise didn't exist."

After deliberation members decided that the Watchmaker could continue using the community garden.