A new restaurant has been awarded a premises licence despite sparking opposition in a Llŷn village.

Gwynedd Council’s licensing committee went against the advice of officers and approved the Black Sheep restaurant’s application despite attracting several objections from both neighbours and local councillors.

The proposed steakhouse and café, at the site of the former Coconut Kitchen restaurant on Lôn Pont Morgan, Abersoch, had applied to sell alcohol, offer late night refreshments and play recorded music both on and off the premises.

But it was the plans to provide seating outside that proved most contentious for local neighbours, having attracted nine letters of opposition and the community council’s objection, with claims that the resulting noise impact would be problematic.

One neighbour claimed that the outdoor seating area would be situated “right under their windows,” which was not the case for the previous restaurant at the site which had seating to the front.

“We can accept noise to a degree, but this will be far and beyond what was the case previously,” they said.

“The site was previously used as parking space and for bins, but this would result in dozens of people congregating until well into the night.”

Another described the “scale and scope” of the proposals as “worrying,” suggesting that outside service should not be permitted any later than 6:30pm.

Local councillor, Dewi Roberts, agreed there was “room for concern,” and backed the recommendation of the authority’s own officers to refuse the application – despite the applicants amending their request from an original ceasing of outdoor activities at 11pm.

The authority’s public protection department had objected on the grounds of it being a residential area, with similar businesses with outdoor areas having limited their hours in other parts of the village.

But the applicants stressed that the business was to be a restaurant first and foremost.

Dylan Evans, speaking on behalf of applicant Heidi McKinnell, could not forsee that the business would generate more noise than the previous restaurant at the site and that the owners were investing in Abersoch.

Adding that the business would employ between six and eight local people, he stressed that the music would be background only with no intention for loud music or live bands.

Mr Evans added that all patrons would be moved indoors after 9pm, meaning there would no more noise than any previous business at the site after that time.

But Abersoch’s former county councillor, speaking as an objector, accused the applicants of failing to respect neighbours nor the Welsh language, referring to the business’ name.

Wyn Williams added that the area in question was a residential one and not within the centre of the village, where most hospitality was to be found.

But after coming to a decision, the Central Sub-Licensing Committee decided to approve the amended plans, meaning the business can stay open until 11:30pm and serve alcohol until 11pm, although the outdoor area will only remain in use until 9pm.

The committee, in its summing up, felt that outright refusal – as had been urged by objectors – would be “heavy handed,” and had not been persuaded that sufficient evidence had been presented to justify turning it down.

Mike Parry, a Pwllheli town councillor who also raised objections, described the decision as a “farce” when it was read out, although officers noted that objectors would be open to appeal via the Magistrates Court if they so wished.