Anorak News | No Sleep Til Bournemouth

No Sleep Til Bournemouth

by | 23rd, November 2005

‘WAIT for it. The licensing laws don’t change until the clock ticks over to Thursday.

It’s a waiting game at Dorset’s Sacred Heart pub

You’d best put that pint of crème de menthe down and drink some stomach-lining milk instead. You’re in for a long night.

And if you’re heading to Bournemouth’s Walkabout bar, you can use the time between now and tomorrow to check your medical insurance is up to date.

By way of illustrating how drinking will turn Britain into a mass pub brawl, the Telegraph has nipped down to the genteel Dorset resort to see what drink can do to even the best neighbourhood.

The paper hears from Sgt Chris Weeks, of Dorset police, who describes the Walkabout as “being out of control”. The pub contributes to “unacceptable levels” of crime in the area.

So back in September, when the pub applied to renew its license, the local council refused. The pub was to be shut down.

Here was an example of how the Licensing Act 2003 was working to give communities the power to control their own areas.

But then the pub appealed. And after a six day court case, costing the taxpayer an estimated £30,000, magistrates in Blandford, Dorset, said the pub could stay open.

Tobias Ellwood, the local Tory MP, sees this as an example of the wider problem: “We have just seen a council trying to flex its muscles by using these new powers and the magistrates have overturned them. There are no powers there at all.”

And Anson Westbrook, chairman of the council’s licensing board, is also less than pleased. “This ruling has set a precedent for other premises to use when a local authority attempts to close them down,” says he.

The Times hears the cry of anguish in Bournemouth, and says that the ruling is not untypical of how things are going as magistrates do down the local councils.

As the paper says, pubs have defeated the council’s objections and won the right to stay open late in three of the five appeal cases heard in the last two weeks.

But the victuallers are not having it all their own way. The Times says that a chain of Christian bookshops will no longer be able to sell Communion wine.

From tomorrow, shops operated by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge will have to possess a licence to sell Vino Sacro wine.

The licence costs £600, plus an annual £180 renewal fee, and the new rules state that two members of staff must be in the shop the whole time. And the SPCK juts can‘t afford it.

That’s bad news for Christianity. But the good news is that the wine – with an alcohol content of 15 per cent – is being sold at a discount price before the new licensing laws come into force.

So what are you waiting for? Get down to your local Communion wine dealers while stocks last. And be prepared for a fight…’

Posted: 23rd, November 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink