Outdoor Garden Makes Pub 'The Sultan of Din' Say Neighbours

Claim it sounds like people are drinking in their front room

The Sultan Pub. Picture: Google Streetview

Neighbours of a South Wimbledon pub are claiming it is like drinkers are “in their front rooms” after a new outdoor seating area was created.

The Sultan, dubbed The Sultan of Din’ by some, will have its licence reviewed this week after complaints that benches in the pub car park are causing a disturbance.

But the pub in Norman Road has been defended by other locals and regulars with more than 30 people writing letters in its support.

The review by Merton Council’s licensing committee will take place on Friday (5 August).

It comes after residents complained that six new picnic tables which can seat up to 36 people in the old car park of the pub means they are being disrupted in their homes.

A letter signed by 12 neighbours requests the review of the licence. It said there has been a “negative impact” on the area and calls on the council to stop the pub from using the new seating area and return it to a car park.

One submission from local resident, Fiona Read, said, “The difficulty now is that if I open any window in the house I hear lots of conversations.

“It is almost as if I am sitting in the pub in my front room. I recognise that some restrictions have been put in place to stop people drinking in this area from 9.30pm in the evening but this does not solve the issue earlier in the day.

“The pub is open from 3pm weekdays and from midday until late in the evening on weekends. This is a long period of time.”

But a letter written by Alison Freezer from Hop Back Brewery plc said complaints from locals contained “gross exaggeration”.

“In it she said to discourage late night noise, the seating area is only available between 3 and 9pm on weekdays and from midday until 9.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Ms Freezer suggested that the complaints were really made due to the loss of the car park. She claimed the car park was used by people that weren’t customers before it was re-purposed.

She wrote, “It is very difficult to address a complaint which seems to have no substance in reality.

“I submit that if the applicant and her supporters really were suffering from unbearable noise nuisance rather than from the loss of some convenient free parking spaces, they would have approached this differently, made some suggestions by way of a compromise (ie reducing times, reducing number of benches) and would not have insisted on the reinstatement of the car parking spaces and the removal of the
blameless planters.”

Letters that will be considered by the committee also included more than 30 letters backing the pub. This included one from Mark Bravery, the chair of the South West London branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

He said, “I understand that the review has been prompted by a complaint about noise from the outside drinking area adjacent to the junction of Norman Road and Deburgh Road.

“This area is part of the premises and , as far as I am aware, drinking has always been permitted here. I visited the Sultan [on June 25]. At 5.30pm there were three customers sitting in this area. At 7pm there were none. I could not detect any noise level that would constitute a public nuisance.

“This area is likely to be heavily used only on warm days. There is a notice on the wall beside this area specifying that drinking there is not permitted after 9.30pm. This clearly addresses the issue of potential public nuisance in the latter part of the evening.”

It will be down to the council’s licensing committee to decide whether any changes should be made to the pub’s licence. The meeting will take place virtually on Friday (August 5) at 11.30am.

Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

August 1, 2022