Resort closes in on booze ban decision

Licensing committee members with the huge volume of paperwork which the order has generated.
Licensing committee members with the huge volume of paperwork which the order has generated.
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A decision on whether to impose a 3am ban on alcohol sales in Blackpool is today being considered by the town’s licensing chiefs.

But the outcome is unlikely to be known until next week.

The resort’s licensing committee has heard evidence over four days both in support of the police application for an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO), and from members of the licensed trade, who oppose the move.

Committee members will also consider written evidence from parties including Tower operator Merlin, which is also opposed to the EMRO.

Yesterday, representatives of the national licensed trade made their representations against the restriction order.

Gerald Gouriet QC, speaking on behalf of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) which represents 50 operators in Blackpool, said the EMRO was not the right way to tackle 
problems of disorder.

He warned many smaller operators were worried about its effect on their businesses.

Mr Gouriet said: “The small pub owners have the most to lose.

“They are deeply concerned that if there is a drastic drop in visitor numbers, that will impact on their business.”

Gerard Walsh, speaking for the Stonegate Pub Company which has 10 venues in Blackpool, including Yates’s and Flares, said an EMRO could hit investment.

He added; “Flares is being looked at for a particularly significant chunk of investment, around £175,000, but the commercial reality is that this kind of investment cannot go ahead if there is uncertainty or fears of a downturn in trade.”

‘Dedicated’ staff in fear of losing their jobs

Stuart Green, operations director at Club Sanuk, told the hearing he and his colleagues faced a bleak future if the EMRO led to the loss of their jobs.

He said: “I am angry that I work with a committed and dedicated team of people who work their hardest to make sure our customers, both local people and visitors, are given a friendly welcome and yet their jobs are under threat.”

PR specialist Pearl Mina said she was worried about the bad publicity Blackpool might attract and called on the police to work alongside licensees.

She added: “We need to go out and tell people how good we are, not how bad we are.”

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