‘Award proves pub success’

MP Brendan Lewis presents the award to Craig Southall, chairman of Blackpool Pubwatch.

MP Brendan Lewis presents the award to Craig Southall, chairman of Blackpool Pubwatch.

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The chairman of Blackpool Pubwatch claims a national award recognising its efforts in promoting responsible drinking is proof there is no need for a controversial drinking ban after 3am.

Craig Southall and members of the town’s Pubwatch were recognised by judges for their “impressive range of responsible drinking initiatives” when the scheme was crowned best in the country at the National Pubwatch Awards 2013 in London.

Blackpool Council is currently consulting on plans to introduce an early morning restriction order (EMRO), which could lead to venues being forced to stop serving alcohol at 3am .

The police have asked for an EMRO because they say tackling violent crime sparked by drunken behaviour is stretching their resources.

But Mr Southall, licensee of Yates on Market Street, Blackpool, said the Pubwatch award was evidence of a decrease in crime across town centre pubs.

He said: “By winning this award it’s just reward for us all.

“By coming first out of 480 Pubwatch groups, we have to be doing things right – we do not feel there is a need for an EMRO, and this award underlines that.”

“The award highlights the fantastic partnership working in Blackpool to reduce incidents and violent crime in and around licenced premises.

“This is reflected in the massive reduction in violent crime over the last 10 years within Blackpool. This is a credit to all Pubwatch members that we as a group have achieved this national prestigious award.”

The award ceremony was attended by the chancellor George Osborne, and the Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Brendan Lewis.

Mr Southall added: “If the EMRO goes ahead, 200 18 to 24-year-olds will lose their jobs.

“The authorities need to look at the bigger picture. Many people come to Blackpool as a holiday destination and want to stay out past 3am.”

What is the EMRO and where is it?

An Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) would mean any pub or club in the EMRO zone would not be able to sell or supply alcohol between 3am and 6am.

The proposed order would apply seven days a week.

If enforced, the EMRO would apply to Queen Street, Springfield Road, Promenade (from alleyway north of Coral Island to Banks Street including North Pier), Bank Hey Street, Market Street, Dickson Road, Talbot Road, West Street, Corporation Street, Abingdon Street, The Strand, High Street, Adelaide Street, Heywood Street and Victoria Street.

Speaking previously to The Gazette, Blackpool’s top police officer Chief Supt Richard Debicki said: “What the evidence tells us is although violent crime has reduced over time across Blackpool, incidents of violence and theft are actually going up in the area which the EMRO zone is proposed.”

The consultation runs until July 25.

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