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‘Disappointed and dismayed’ South Parade Club’s licence suspended

South Parade Club Frome

South Parade Club Frome

LOCAL people are fighting to save Frome’s longest-running private members’ club after its licence was suspended by Mendip District Council following complaints from neighbours.

The South Parade Club has been open for nearly 100 years but could soon close its doors for good after neighbours produced a report documenting four years of alleged antisocial behaviour, parking issues and licence breaches.

The committee who run the club recently went before a licensing sub committee to hear the list of issues the neighbours have documented over the last four years and the decision was made to suspend the club’s licence. Chairman of the club June Barnes has told the Frome Times that they strongly object to the decision and an appeal has been made.

June said, “We are all very disappointed and dismayed at the current situation. It’s astounding that a small group of people would want to ruin something that helps so many people and is such an important part of the community.

“We feel that we are being blamed for incidents that are not our fault and nothing to do with us. For instance, they said there was noise and disruption on Good Friday this year but when I looked back in the diary, we weren’t even open on that day. They also complained about the noise of people shutting car doors. How on earth are we meant to do anything about that?

“A lot of people who don’t use the club but who live nearby have told me that they don’t think there is a problem. One elderly lady said she likes seeing people walking up and down the road because it makes her feel less lonely.

“Instead of sitting in their houses writing down everything we do, they should come and join us.”

An online petition has been set up to save South Parade Club from closure and already has hundreds of signatures. One person wrote, “I’m signing this petition because I have lived in Frome for 40 years and have always met friends at the club. The club is a family community asset, who have always regarded their neighbours with the most consideration, and hosted many, many local charity events.

“If people choose to live near a social club they should be aware that could be minor disruptions, but as a member who lived for our first twenty years in Frome in Sheppards Barton, I can assure you that the most disruption is caused by Sheppards Barton and South Parade being a short cut thoroughfare to other venues back and forth to the town centre and Catherine Hill.”

There have also been  strong objections voiced on social media site Facebook. One women wrote, “What’s wrong with all these people? I bet none of them were born in Frome. Have you noticed that nearly all of them are newcomers who no sooner are they here, they want to take over and change everything or shut down venues that us Fromites have enjoyed for years and want to keep.

“As well as being a club where members can go and enjoy a drink or a game of Bingo, the club and its members do a lot in helping out local charities by letting them have the use of the facilities. It also allows a lot of community groups in the area use of the club for meetings.

“When buying or renting a property you would normally find out about these sort of things when moving near to a club or a pub. If you don’t like it, go and live somewhere else.”

Although the licence has been suspended, the club can remain open whilst they appeal the decision. The appeal will go to the magistrates’ court and a decision should be made after Christmas.