‘Big grey boat’ granted licence to sell alcohol on River Deben

The TS Lord Nelson, also known as HMS Vale, pictured when it was in Norwich. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRAR

The TS Lord Nelson, also known as HMS Vale, pictured when it was in Norwich. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

A floating cafe has been given the green light to sell alcohol onboard a former warship, despite residents’ concerns it would lead to potential crime and disorder.

Deben Bar was granted the bid to sell alcohol onboard HMS Vale, in Melton, between 11am and 11pm Monday to Saturday, and between noon and 10.30pm on Sundays.

The vessel, as known as the TS Lord Nelson and popularly called the “big grey boat” when it was docked in Norwich, moved to Melton Boatyard last year so the floating cafe could be set up.

It has since become a popular attraction in Dock Lane, Melton but attracted opposition from five residents concerned about noise, increased parking and anti-social behaviour when it applied for the alcohol licence.

“The representations received against the application highlight concerns that the grant of the licence will cause public nuisance and crime and disorder,” a document published ahead of an East Suffolk Council meeting on the issue said.

“There is concern that there will be increased parking in Riverview, Melton with noise and litter, and that late night revellers will cause a nuisance to residents by shouting, swearing, fights and general intimidation.”

However, the council licensing sub-committee decided that problems with anti-social behaviour would be unlikely, due to the nature of it being a private members’ club.

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“However, should it become a problem then the licence could be subject to a review,” a decision notice following the meeting said.

In terms of fears about noise, the sub-committee said that Deben Bar had not applied for amplified music and that activities would be largely below deck.

It therefore decided to grant the application at the meeting on Wednesday, April 3.

Ahead of the meeting, documents said the owners of Deben Bar had pledged to “keep good order and the premises clean and well maintained” and “have high standards of behaviour and conduct expectations”, with a responsible person on site at all times.

It also promised there would CCTV inside and outside the premises and locks on significant doors to prevent access to alcohol.

A strict over-18s policy would also be applied, with noise levels closely monitored to address any concerns early.

The bar also invited objectors to have a look at the facilities ahead of the meeting.