Written by Stephen Pierre
It is my personal and professional view that Early Morning Restriction Orders will create bigger problems for all concerned as opposed to curb anti social behaviour.
It is expected in this day and age that UK and European holiday destinations have some late licences past 3am.
Blackpool relies heavily on year round weekend tourism, a good percentage generated by ‘clubbers’ wanting to party till 5am. This will be lost to Preston, Manchester and Liverpool. There is no doubt that a blanket 3am closure of all bars and clubs would create a greater ‘kick out- kick off’ atmosphere in Blackpool town centre. In time it would be interesting to note the level of anti social behaviour incidents occurring between 3am -4am.
I would predict a marked increase due to the unexpected change and limited resources to cope with the volume of people. Staggered closures are a much better way to control a wind down to an evening of boozy characters.
If Blackpool still had a solid 20-week summer season with greater mid week tourism turnover, the resort would be in a better placed financial position to make overnight radical changes. Sadly the town is not in a prosperous position and the EMRO will add to the town’s decline. Realistically some licensed premises can no longer afford to close doors at 3am. The town will face further other closures as many B&B owners trapped between a ‘rock and a hard stone’ are unable to sell. Further closures would affect neighbouring properties, create a bigger welfare bill, and impact on Blackpool’s reputation and residential house prices.
At Nellie Deans fun bar we have a 4am licence but discourage entry past 2.45am. As a Promenade venue, we avoid inheriting those who have already had too much to drink and usually point them in the direction of the taxi rank. At our sister venue, The Galleon bar, a locals’ venue, well behaved fans of live music, we also operate a strict door policy.
Place EMROs on hold and impose a small levy on selected premises to contribute to policing costs. Increasing drink prices by at least 10p after 2am may help.