More time called on 3am closures

Craig Southall, general manager for Yates and chairman for Blackpool Pubwatch

Craig Southall, general manager for Yates and chairman for Blackpool Pubwatch

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BLACKPOOL’S bar owners have been given more time to try to get people out earlier before an order stopping the sale of alcohol after 3am is imposed.

The order, an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO), was expected to be put out to consultation by councillors on Blackpool Council’s licencing committee yesterday, but they agreed to defer the item until May, giving traders the chance to come up with real solutions to nighttime disorder.

The EMRO would sent tourist the wrong message – that Blackpool is no longer safe for a night out – the resort’s bar and club owners say.

Craig Southall, chairman of Pub Watch which has set up a working group in response to the EMRO, said the order would see tourists spending their money in other towns.

Giving a presentation to Blackpool Council’s licencing committee, he said: “Blackpool would become a less desirable tourist destination. Tourists coming in would all of a sudden realise Blackpool is closing early, or see the EMRO in place as us saying it’s a violent, not nice place to go. They will chose to go elsewhere with their money.

“With venues struggling to meet the losses caused by venues closing early, they are going to have to lose jobs. Employees are mainly 18 to 24 year olds, it would be a shame to have even more unemployment in that age group.”

Mr Southall, manager of Yates, said a higher police presence would put a stop to any violence that could occur as people stay out drinking later.

Peter Bowden, owner of Club Sanuk, added: “Blackpool is a safe and fun place to go on holiday. These EMROs would be nuclear to traders.”

Dave Daly from the union Unite said the move would cost between 500 and 600 jobs in Blackpool.

Mr Daly, who is also a member of Pub Watch, said: “It’s very concerning. You wouldn’t do that to a normal factory.”

Committee members agreed to put off making a decision until Pub Watch had held meetings with the police and council officers to discuss its options.

Coun Mark Smith said: “We need to see what can be done to help the town with the issues it has. We need to know now many premises are open after 3am and what their sales are after that time.”

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