A NEW microbrewery could open in Bishop Auckland after securing a licence from Durham County Council.

In September, Bishop Brewing Ltd applied for consent to set up shop at 17 Chester Street.

The site would include a brewery production facility and tap house, with customers able to sample drinks on site and take away gift items, and it would also cater for US-style growler fills – reusable swing top bottles which can be filled from a keg system on site.

During consultation, half a dozen letters of objection were lodged from neighbours, local businesses and Bishop Auckland Town Council.

Concerns included the bar undermining licensing objectives around the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, prevention of public nuisance and protection of children from harm.

A request was also made for a temporary licence to be granted “until the full impact of a new licensed premises could be assessed”.

Due to the opposition, the brewery bid was called before the council’s statutory licensing sub-committee for decision last week.

Representatives from Bishop Brewing Ltd stressed the development would serve premium products and differed from a standard bar / off-licence and be aimed at “discerning drinkers out for a quiet pint or two” with a minimum price of £4 for drinks.

Councillors also heard that the brewery would process online customer orders and transport products from the site.

At the meeting, neighbours raised concerns about increased noise and disturbance in a primarily industrial / commercial area. Other fears included proxy sales to children and the potential for increased antisocial behaviour in surrounding streets.

Brewery bosses, responding, said several measures would be put in place including CCTV, a Challenge 25 policy and external lighting.

Since their original submission, applicants have also scaled back their alcohol hours following talks with the council’s environmental health team.

This included scrapping a bid to sell booze until 1am between June 1 to September 30 for popular historical event Kynren.

Following discussion, councillors gave the go-ahead to the brewery bid subject to a final change – no alcohol sales before 10am. Agreed hours for the sale of alcohol both on and off the premises include Monday to Sunday, 10am to 11pm.

Before the venue can welcome its first customers, it needs planning permission from the county council.