Tories hit out at EMRO delay

EMRO hearing at Blackpool Town Hall.
EMRO hearing at Blackpool Town Hall.
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The leader of Blackpool Council’s Tory group has branded a hearing into a proposed early morning booze ban a “pantomime”, after it was postponed for a second time.

The Gazette reported on Tuesday how the proposed week-long hearing into plans for an EMRO in Blackpool was halted on Monday following hours of legal argument.

Council bosses adjourned the hearing until early next year after licensees argued they had not been served documents in time.

Now Coun Tony Williams, who leads the council’s Conservative group, has told of his anger at the further postponment, saying it will have incurred “further uncessesary costs.”

He told The Gazette: “I am absolutely appalled at the continued incompetency by this council after it has failed to meet the required deadline for notices relating to the EMRO consultation. I have already stated that I think the whole debacle is a pre-determined farce.

“By causing a further delay this council will have incurred even further unnecessary costs for all concerned which is absolutely disgraceful.

“The buck stops with the leader of the council then rolls on to the chief executive’s desk. Both should be called to account and make a full explanation as to why this unprofessional sloppiness has been allowed to happen.

“I recently sent a full outline of the EMRO consultation saga and its failings to the department of Communities in London it has now been passed onto the Home Office for scrutiny.

“This latest nonsense will only add fuel to their review and the eventual consequences for the council could be very serious.

“At least with the consultation now taking place in January it will mean that we don’t have two Christmas pantomimes in the town at the same time.”

Blackpool could eventually become the first local authority area in the country to adopt an EMRO, forcing all pubs and clubs to close at 3am.

It is the second time the proposed hearing has been adjourned. It is now planned for between mid-January and early February.

Coun Adrian Hutton, acting chairman of Blackpool Council’s licensing committee, said: “We will arrange that all interested parties are notified of the new date as soon as possible and before Christmas. It is vital the legal process is followed to ensure we come to the right decision for Blackpool.”

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