THE owner of one of Southampton’s biggest music venues fears latenight sanctions newly imposed by licensing chiefs may hit live bands performing at the arena.

Paul Hooper, owner of the 1865, says he will appeal Southampton City Council’s decision to stop any loading or unloading outside the venue in Brunswick Square after midnight.

It comes after the council’s licensing and gambling sub committee agreed to extend the venue’s opening hours until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, with a final closing time of 3.30am.

It will continue to close at midnight from Sunday to Thursday.

As reported by the Daily Echo, Mr Hooper lodged an application to extend opening hours until 4am due to a new tax levy imposed on bars and clubs by the council, which sees venues pay an annual fee if they are open until after midnight.

The levy, which sees venues pay an annual fee of between £299 and £4,440, covers the cost of policing and managing the city’s night-time economy.

But Mr Hooper feared the tax could ultimately lead to the loss of the facility.

At yesterday’s decision meeting, it was revealed a noise abatement notice was issued to the venue following an event on January 14 last year, while complaints were made to environmental health about noise by members of the public in 2013.

Councillors heard objections to the proposals from residents including James Corlass, who lives in nearby Orchard Place.

He told the panel that noise coming from the venue forces him to wear earplugs at night and he regularly has trouble getting to sleep.

Mr Corlass said: “The sound checks start from 5pm. Sometimes queues can go around the street and at the front of the property.

“There are bottles and glasses being taken out of the venue and end up getting smashed in the car park.”

Councillors decided, after nearly two hours of deliberation, to allow 1865 to stay open later but only when conditions are met including last re-entry into the venue at 1am on Friday and Saturday, and the inclusion of an alarm on the fire escape that will alert bar staff when it has been opened.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hooper told the Daily Echo: “The biggest problem for me is the condition of not unloading or loading after midnight, which means any live bands won’t have a chance to unload – it affects our ability to put live music on.

“We will appeal that. It’s only given us another hour as far as the late-night levy is concerned, it does affect our ability to trade.

“There are pressures to run later and unfortunately the outcome is not what we would have hoped for.

“In 20 months of trading we have never had a visit from the police and never had any issues. More policing is great but we are not in the case of Bedford Place where there are trouble hotspots. We are not in a known trouble hotspot.

“The viability of the business is perhaps at risk.

“It’s a new business and we have challenges to cope with and this is one of those challenges. We need to understand how this will impact our ability to take on event hires.

“I reiterate, we are not a night club – we are an event venue.”

Lorraine Barter, from the Polygon Action Group, which campaigns against late night venues in the city centre, said the council’s decision to extend 1865’s opening hours won’t set a precedent of other venues being granted later closing times.

She said: “We in the Polygon, we unfortunate citizens that have been brave enough to stay here, we have had night time venues for years which have stayed open until 3.30am.

“The citizens of Southampton are powerless when it comes to licensing objections.”