A HAMPSHIRE country pub in the South Downs National Park can keep its children’s play area.

Joel Czopor, landlord of the Tichborne Arms pub, in Riverside Farm Lane, Tichborne, near Alresford, applied for retroactive permission for a swing and slide set for customer use in the back garden.

The play area had been installed almost two years ago without planning consent when the pub reopened in 2022.

The application was approved by the Winchester City Council planning committee on Thursday, May 23.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Tichborne ArmsThe Tichborne Arms (Image: Google Maps)

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Objecting to the application, Donna Smits, also of Riverside Farm Lane, said: “This area is right next to the garden fence between the Tichborne Arms and our cottage. We have always accepted the proximity of the pub, but we strongly object to the play area.

“The playground is open seven days a week, from 9am to 7pm, but children continue to play there well after that time. Children of all ages congregate there, screaming, shouting, fighting, and climbing all over the 10ft plus high climbing tower. This structure is five-feet above the height of our fence and disrupts our privacy. The height of this surely presents safety concerns.”

Mrs Smits went on to say that the noise from the children is “intolerable and very stressful”, adding: “It directly affects all the neighbouring properties, plus those on the other side of the car park.”

Mr Czopor also spoke to the committee, saying: “To date, we have received no formal complaints relating to noise or other matters since we opened in August 2022.

“We use a noise management plan, which is available as part of the documents for this application, which confirms that the play area closes at 7pm and we have signage and staff on-site to manage that process and that plan daily.”

Hampshire Chronicle: The play area in the rear garden of the Tichborne ArmsThe play area in the rear garden of the Tichborne Arms (Image: South Downs National Park Authority)

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Cllr Jane Rutter, chair of the planning committee, said: “Children make some noise when they are playing – they get excited, they shriek and things. For me, it is a charming sound, for others it may grate, and if you live next door to a pub and it goes on a lot I can imagine it would be difficult to live with.

“But that is not a reason to refuse this play area. The play area enhances the offer of the pub, it encourages more families to go to the pub and the South Downs National Park, to sit in the garden and admire the views.”

The committee voted in favour of the application.