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February 26, 2009 11:28 PM

A senior Liberal Democrat is calling on Newcastle City Council to reject a licensing application to convert a former social club into a "student bar".

Councillor Greg Stone, who is the Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle East, is leading the fight against turning the former British Legion Club on Chillingham Road into a "Student Study and Cultural Club".

Local residents fear, that the club, which is very close to Ravenswood Primary School, will be a student pub in all but name.

Neighbours of the club, which has been disused for several years, have already fought off previous attempts by the owner to convert the premises into an Indian restaurant and an African club.

Greg Stone, who is also the city councillor for the North Heaton area, is supporting residents who are campaigning against the proposals.

"I fully agree with residents that this would be an inappropriate place for a large licensed premises, given its proximity to the primary school, a dangerous roundabout, and many residential properties," he said.

"The north end of Chillingham Road is much less commercial than the main part of the street, and it is strongly felt that an additional drinking establishment aimed at students would not be suitable in this area.

"We are calling on the council's licensing committee to turn down this application as being completely unsuitable, and call on the owners of this property to find a use for this building that will be acceptable to the local community."

It is understood that objections to the proposal have been lodged by the council's planning, highways, and public health departments, as well as Greg Stone, ward colleague Councillor Doreen Huddart, and more than 25 neighbours.

The application is due to be heard at a hearing on March 5.