THE owner of a new live entertainment venue in West Somerset is challenging restrictions on its opening hours and a ban on amplified music just two months since it won planning permission.

Watchet Radio Museum owner Neil Wilson was given consent in January to convert the former Anchor Inn public house function room and skittle alley into a functions and activities space and a 120-seat performing arts venue.

He bought the former pub about 10 years ago after moving the radio museum from Tropiquaria, Washford Cross.

When he applied for a change of use planning application he said Watchet lacked a suitable venue for small theatre productions and local amateur groups and envisaged it might also be hired by touring professional companies.

He said at the time he was not proposing to hold music events because there were other venues which served the town.

But now, Mr Wilson has put in a new planning application to vary conditions that his venue closes by 10 pm daily and does not permit amplified music.

Mr Wilson said the conditions were ‘restrictive’ and would prohibit theatre performances which had an interval and ‘get in’ and ‘get out’ times for sets and equipment.

He instead proposed closing at 11 pm on Monday to Wednesday and midnight on Thursday through to Saturday and said visitors would be asked to leave the premises ‘quietly, and to refrain from any loud noise’.

Mr Wilson said he objected to the amplified music ban because it was not intended that there would be any loud bands rehearsing, only sound emitted in support of shows.

He said the main entrance door had a porch added to it to reduce noise leakage and light and sound proofing material would be fitted to the two roof windows.

Watchet town councillors at the time supported bringing the building back into use for a function room and skittle alley but expressed reservations about some of Mr Wilson’s proposed uses because of potential disturbance to neighbouring houses.

Somerset Council, which will determine the application, is asking for any public comments to be submitted by April 25.