Rodhuish swingers' party hotel Croydon Hall wins late licence
Swingers' parties held at a rural hotel have been described as "offensive" by local residents.
A packed council meeting heard the events hosted at Croydon Hall in Rodhuish are spoiling the "peace and tranquillity" of Exmoor National Park.
Despite the opposition, Somerset West and Taunton Council agreed to extend the hotel's late licence at weekends.
It hosts Exclusively Silk events twice a month and describes them as tasteful and "not a dirty man's club".
Owner Allan McCloud had applied to extend the existing 12 midnight licence for drink, music and late night refreshment to 03:00.
'Hear the noise'
He said: "I applied for a three-hour extension because it's the 21st century. When people ring up for a wedding and ask what time the event can finish, and I say 11:30pm, they move on."
However, the authority's licensing committee agreed to extend permission by an hour until 01:00 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.
Speaking at the meeting, Anne Pitts, who runs a nearby holiday cottage with her husband, said she was offended there was "a sex club next door to our house".
She believes the events are preventing visitors from "enjoying the peace and tranquillity" of Exmoor National Park.
"The main problem is once the doors and windows are open, everyone can hear the noise," she continued.
"People we speak to are appalled and say, as we do, that this is the wrong business for here."
Another resident, Susan Brierley, feared granting the licence would create "a complete free-for-all" by increasing traffic going to the hotel.
Mr McCloud said the events - which have been running since January - are "lifestyle parties" for professional people.
He said they are "tasteful" and "not a dirty old man's club" and "accusations" have been made because people "don't like the nature of the beast".
"I totally understand if we were in close proximity of everyone, but we're in the middle of nowhere," he added.
Councillor Keith Turner said all points of view have been considered:
"It's not an easy decision, but hopefully we've come up with the right [decision]," he said.
Exclusively Silk parties are described online as "intimate parties for classy, sophisticated couples and single ladies."