In 24 hours more than 1,000 people had protested by signing a petition started by “frustrated and sad” customer Abigail Lewis. She said: “There is clearly strong feeling about the need for a place where local people can gather and this decision by the council is a short-sighted one.
“Judging by the number of signatures on the petition, people feel it will be a great loss to the village. It is a well-supported, local independent business that provides the community with a space to gather, socialise, meet neighbours and build new friendships. There is nothing else in the village. The nearest pubs are a drive away.”
An East Hampshire District Council spokesperson said: “East Hampshire District Council’s environmental protection officers issued the Triple fff brewery with a written warning to close its outside drinking space after repeated complaints of excessive noise and sustained singing and shouting.
“Officers issued the pub a community protection warning on July 15, notifying the owners that the noise levels were having a detrimental impact on the local community.
“The community protection warning, which the pub is complying with, asks that the pub no longer allows drinkers to use its outside space.
“The council has been responding to complaints about noise coming from the premises for more than four years and a similar community protection warning was issued in November 2018.
“Since that time we have monitored noise levels around the pub and the latest community protection warning is the result of evidence we have gathered over that period.”
But Cllr Ingrid Thomas, who represents Four Marks and Medstead on East Hampshire District Council, has gone into bat on behalf of the brewery.
She said: “I have already been trying to help with this situation. As you may know, last time it happened I worked with Triple fff and the environmental health team to find solutions to the problems.
“Primarily last time the neighbour kept complaining about noise.
“Noise monitors were put in the house which picked up a rumble of noise from people outside and spikes of noise when there was laughter. Some work was done to install noise fencing but I’m not certain how far that got or how effective it is.
“I was not informed before the latest action was taken, which I have complained about as I feel councillors should have been informed so we might have been able to help negotiate before action was taken.
“I have never felt building houses next to an industrial estate was a good plan and am on record as trying to prevent homes being built there.
“But that is in the past and we must deal with the now.
“I will continue to do my best to help solve this situation.”
Graham Trott, who founded Triple fff in Station Approach in 1997, said: “The brewery is still running.
“I’m just not allowed to use the outside space any more which will really affect my business.”
The online petition is at https://www.change.org/p/keeping-outside-space-at-fff-in-four-marks-open?signed=true