A CITY bar has been handed a controversial late licence - despite residents' pleas that it would make their lives a misery.

Apartment 26 in Carlton Place has been granted an extension to its midnight music and dancing licence for seven days a week.

It means that up to 200 people can stay in the £750,000 refurbished bar, directly above the Lizard Lounge, for food, drinks and dancing beyond normal pub opening hours of 10am to 11pm.

The decision by Southampton City Council's Licensing Subcommittee sparked anger among Polygon residents who have campaigned for years to stamp out late-night noise.

Bedford Place resident and mum-of-two Paula Ruiz was close to tears as she told how she'd been forced to nail her letter box closed because late-night revellers had posted cigarettes and even kebabs through her door.

Mrs Ruiz, who runs Minsky's sandwich bar, said: "The increase in noise is getting worse. Apartment 26 has caused some of this.

"People are drinking until later and licences are being handed out until later. It's making our lives a misery.

"I feel extremely disheartened by the situation. They are trying to

protect their business but I'm trying to protect my family."

She added: "It's just tiring. It makes me feel very tearful, very fed up. We're talking about continuous noise nuisance."

Apartment 26, formerly the Fez bar, secured a midnight music licence in February but was up before decision-makers for renewal and to add new manager Carlos Swinton-Lee as another licensee.

Mr Swinton-Lee, who also manages the Lizard Lounge, said the upstairs bar attracted an older, smarter clientele with about 15 per cent of customers eating lunch or dinner in the bar.

He said: "We have proved that we can operate sensibly and responsibly with this premises and that has to be taken into consideration."

Lorraine Barter, chairman of the Polygon Residents' Action Group, has spent hours on the streets surveying pub closing time behaviour around Bedford Place.

She told the Daily Echo after the meeting: "I am extremely unhappy with the decision and with the constant expectation that unless residents go out and risk their lives to produce evidence, our lives will become increasingly poor in quality."

Councillor Royston Smith, delivering the verdict, ordered bar bosses to start talking to residents regularly to iron out future problems.

Lizard Lounge bosses were due before Southampton Magistrates' Court on Monday over licensing issues.

They agreed with residents out of court to open until 11pm from Monday to Thursday and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.