NEIGHBOURS have raised concerns around a bid to begin serving alcohol at a trout farm owned by rock legend Roger Daltrey.

On Tuesday (March 30), a Rother District Council licensing panel met to consider an application for the sale of alcohol at Lakedown Trout Fishery, The Who frontman’s angling business outside of Burwash Common.

The application came from the singer’s youngest son Jamie Daltrey – who now runs the business – and sought permission to create “a vineyard style tasting room” at the fishery’s lodge to serve craft beer made by the Lakedown Brewing Company.

Asitha Ranatunga, a lawyer acting on behalf of the fishery, said: “This is not a bar or a pub, in the sense you might have in a village. It is a taproom offering locally produced beers which you can sample on site and then purchase to take home.  “What we envisage is something akin to a vineyard-style tasting room. It is a low volume, high quality offer.”

Mr Ranatunga went on to say the wider business would still be focused on fishing, with the taproom intended as a place for anglers to visit at the end of the day. The focus on fishing would also incentivise a quiet atmosphere, he added.

To achieve this the fishery suggested a 6pm closing time between October and March months and a 9pm closing time during spring and summer. The business also offered a condition limiting it to only selling alcohol (specifically beer) from the Lakedown Brewing Company and no other suppliers.

While legal representatives for the fishery stressed that the lodge was intended to be for “low volume and high quality” sales, the application had seen some significant concerns raised by neighbours around noise and disturbance.  Among those to raise concerns was neighbour Robert Banks, who had called for a number of extra conditions, including a strict limit on numbers and controls on outdoor lighting.

However, these conditions – with the exception of the provision of life preservers by the water and a mechanism for neighbours to raise concerns – were not accepted by the fishery, with Mr Ranatunga arguing they would be unreasonable.

Mr Banks said: “Yesterday I decided, having talked to Jamie, that this was an appropriate case in which the application could be granted subject to conditions.

“The reason primarily why objections and conditions were suggested was because there is an unknown factor to this.  “There is something that doesn’t quite add up about this application and having listened to the representative for Jamie there really is no meeting ground. He just wants it on his own terms.”

Mr Banks drew particular concerns to the way the business is accessed, raising fears that an increase in numbers would put pressure on the local road network.

He also took issue with a condition limiting the business to only selling beer brewed by the Lakedown Brewing Company, saying he feared the lodge may become an ‘all-male’ haunt if it didn’t sell wine as well.  He said: “I suggested the licence should provide wine, because I don’t think an all beer premises is suitable, because it may turn into a sort of all male thing.

“If women were encouraged to go to this place with wine, I think that might help the balance of this item.”

Mr Banks also argued the closing time should be as close to dusk as possible, saying last orders should be called at “lighting up time”.  This suggested condition and others were disputed by the applicants, who argued they would not be proportionate or reasonable.

Mr Ranatunga said: “It is still going to be a fishing business where noise has to be kept to an absolute minimum. That has always been our intention [and] it has always been our intention to preserve the land and views.  “The question is about how we regulate that and whether it is appropriate to regulate it any more than we’ve done.

“In my respectful submission, we’ve really bent over backwards to accommodate the concerns that have been raised in a way that is consistent with the law.”

After hearing from all parties the panel retired to consider their decision in private. A written decision is expected to provided within the next five working days.