A RETIREMENT complex has been granted a licence to serve alcohol to visitors - despite concerns among some residents that it would lead to people drinking to excess.

Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust applied for permission to serve drinks to visitors at Hartrigg Oaks retirement community in New Earswick.

As previously reported by The Press, the Quaker-founded complex already has an unrestricted alcohol licence for residents, who were keen to stress that it is not exclusively a home for Quakers.

Sharon Brookes, general manager of Hartrigg Oaks, said some residents do not leave the complex and enjoying a meal with their family can be the “highlight of their week.”

Speaking at a licensing meeting, she said: “This is the time when their friends and relatives visit them and they take them for a meal in our restaurant. There’s no intention to change the status quo. The trust have no intention to open up these facilities to members of the public. The alcohol consumption is low. There have been no issues relating to public disorder.

“The peace and quiet that is enjoyed by our residents will continue.”

She said residents currently have to buy alcoholic drinks for their guests when they come for meals or events at the home. But as part of a review of the site’s catering, the management wanted to give visitors the opportunity to buy their own drinks.

Two residents submitted letters objecting to the plans. One writer said the average age of residents is 80, with the oldest aged over 100.

They added: “Noise both inside the building and outside would be quite frightening to many of these residents and sadly people who have imbibed alcohol are not always in control of what they do.

“We have always respected Quaker principles of not encouraging people to drink to excess which we fear could happen here. It is not a pub.”

Another said: “We each pay a considerable sum to come and live in this community, a large part of its attraction is the peace of mind and tranquility of lifestyle which our community provides. Hartrigg Oaks is not a bar.”

A spokesman for the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust said the situation will be under “close review” to keep any disruption or noise to a minimum.

They said: “The restaurant is a social space where residents can spend time with their guests. By standardising our alcohol licence to include non-residents as well, we believe that it will continue to be a welcoming environment in which everyone can enjoy social occasions.”

The licence was granted from 11am to 11pm and chair of the meeting Cllr Sam Lisle said: “We feel this would take into account the concerns raised by some residents.”