A BUSY town centre pub in Wellington has won a controversial battle to extend its opening hours.

The King’s Arms will operate nightclub-like hours in the town on weekends after licensing officials at Taunton Deane Council said it can stay open until 3am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

But the authority stressed that last entry into the venue will remain at 12.30am.

While the move may be popular with punters, town councillors expressed grave concerns at their meeting this week after police made no objections against the pub’s application.

Cllr Ross Henley said: “I think it was a mistake for police not to raise any objections.

“I normally agree with pretty much most of what they do but on this occasion I think it’s a mistake.

“I’ve spoken to people in the town centre and they’ll be subjected to anti-social behaviour. You’ll have people coming out at different times which will cause noise throughout the night.”

The pub often holds disco nights and other entertainment, drawing over 100 people through the doors.

Landlord Martin Barrington says he thinks the later licence would actually reduce noise for those living in the town centre and added: “When we had the earlier licence there would be 150 to 200 people being turfed out at once, going into takeaways and obviously you’re going to get a lot of noise.

“Now, at 3am, we’ll probably have 30 people leaving because they stagger out at different times.

“The council said they would do all they can to support their local pubs and they objected with no evidence.

“I’m the only pub in town to have door staff.”

Responding to claims from Cllr Henley, Sgt Helen Boyd, from Wellington Police Station, defended the force’s decision to raise no objections against the application.

She said: “When I looked at our call logs there weren’t a great deal of calls to the pub.

“I know there is some anti-social behaviour but there is more of a staggering of people coming out of premises on to the streets.”