Search

Breaks put on pub drive-a-customer idea

PUBLISHED: 14:05 04 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:58 03 March 2010

A UNIQUE anti-drink driving campaign by a village pub has been forced off the road by government bureaucrats – and a Suffolk Scrooge!

On the day that the Government launches its 25th Christmas campaign against drink-driving, its own vehicle inspectors have pulled the plug on a Suffolk initiative to combat the menace.

A UNIQUE anti-drink driving campaign by a village pub has been forced off the road by government bureaucrats – and a Suffolk Scrooge!

On the day that the Government launches its 25th Christmas campaign against drink-driving, its own vehicle inspectors have pulled the plug on a Suffolk initiative to combat the menace.

Landlords Jane and Ralph Davis, who run the White Horse in Capel St Mary, had planned to ferry customers in a private minibus – but they are now facing a bill of up to a thousand pounds in order to get a special licence.

The bureaucratic bombshell came just days after the Evening Star launched our annual "name and shame" campaign against festive drink driving.

The government's own anti-drink driving campaign is a repeat of last year's with graphic images of accidents accompanied by well-known Christmas songs.

Suffolk Police are due to launch their own campaign later in the month.

With festive spirit rapidly draining Mr Davis said: "We are doing the law a favour by stopping drink driving.

"We are encouraging people to use a service that is free of charge and doing our bit for the environment and yet we are being stopped at every turn."

The couple, who have run the only watering hole in the village for nearly two years, splashed out on the 15-seater mini bus to take the pub pool and darts team to away games.

They decided to extend the transport service to parties of customers over the Christmas period.

"We would rather see someone get home safe rather than risk drinking and driving," said Mrs Davis, adding that she saw her customers as friends and wanted to do them a favour.

Now the couple have been told that not only are all booze cruises on hold but they can't even use the minibus for the pub teams until they get a Public Service Vehicle Operators Licence.

And as far as they are concerned it's bah humbug to the person who lodged a complaint against them and is believed to be a fellow villager.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions confirmed that the pub landlords would not be allowed to operate without a licence and could face prosecution if they failed to comply.

She said that it was in the interests of public safety that adequate vehicle and driver checks were carried out before a member of the public "put their life in someone else's hands".

She added that although a full licence could cost more, it was possible to obtain a more restricted cover for a few hundred pounds.

Vehicle inspector Derrick Howlett was unable to confirm who had been behind the whistle blowing – but said that the couple had been the subject of a complaint by a member of the public who had knowledge of the operating licence system.

"I have every sympathy for an attempt to stop people drinking and driving but they must do it within the regulations, of which we are duty bound to enforce," he said.

Regulars propping up the bar at the White Horse however raised a glass to the landlords' anti-drink drive initiative.

Jacky Donoghue of Church Road, Tattingstone welcomed the free service saying: "I think it is absolutely brilliant. A local taxi firm charges £8 from Tattingstone to here and the same again back again."

Keith Winter of Old London Road, Copdock said: "13 of us came up with them once. That would have been three cars – and it stops people drink driving."


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ipswich Star