THE Old Walls Vineyard, Old Walls Road, Bishopsteignton, can open after 7pm to pre-booked parties only, with a limit of 12 events per year and a maximum of 50 people at any one time, Teignbridge Licensing Act Sub- committee agreed on Friday.

The committee granted the application for a premises licence variation with those conditions, after Ken and Lesley Dawe, who run the vineyard, and objector John Young, also representing another resident, had amicably reached that agreement, writes John Balment.

Under the conditions the premises can open Monday-Sunday 10.30am-11.30pm with the licensable activities 10.30am-11pm – it was formerly 9pm for pre-booked parties. It can operate during the day for other customers and normally closes at 4pm.

Mr Dawe said the reason for the extra evening time was because of requests from organisations such as the round table, rotary clubs, the women's institute and wine clubs, to have tours and tastings.

'These organisations obviously prefer an evening venue because during the day most of them are at work. 'Normally the time they request visits is 7.30 for 8pm.

'The vineyard tour and into the winery takes at least an hour, showing how the grapes are processed and made into wine. 'Then they can come in, taste and buy our products and it makes it very tight to our existing hours.

'We do not wish to have an open all hours to all and sundry who pass the door. The evenings would be strictly controlled with tickets. 'I do understand the concerns of people that live at the bottom as regards noise of cars going up and down. Obviously as time goes by the whole road will be concreted, and at the other end we can arrange for screening to go around the car park,' said Mr Dawe.

Mr Young said he felt the vineyard was great for the village and his objection was to the extension in licensing hours. 'They could be leaving there at midnight and our bedroom is at the bottom of the driveway. It is just the possibility that the extension could be for 365 days a year. 'About 20 vehicles coming down the driveway at 11.30pm-midnight would be a disturbance to us. The current 9pm licence and people off the premises at 10pm is ideal from my point of view,' said Mr Young.