Cold weather dampens drinkers' night

FREEZING temperatures meant the first night of the hotly disputed extended licensing hours turned out to be quieter than a normal Thursday night.There was little to signal the beginning of a new era in Ipswich last night as relatively few drinkers took advantage of new additional drinking times.

FREEZING temperatures meant the first night of the hotly disputed extended licensing hours turned out to be quieter than a normal Thursday night.

There was little to signal the beginning of a new era in Ipswich last night as relatively few drinkers took advantage of new additional drinking times.

Far from clamouring to pack into pubs and clubs, those who did brave the conditions were more interested in getting home at the end of the night rather than causing trouble.

Temperatures dropped to -1C and were expected to be similar this evening.


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By 1am, there were about 100 people in Shout, a similar amount in Pals and 15 in the Ice Bar, far fewer than the amount expected in the clubs on a normal Thursday evening. The pubs had all closed by midnight and their customers long since dispersed.

It made for a relatively peaceful time for the police at least, with drinkers more concerned with battling the elements than among themselves.

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A handful of arrests were made, for offences including drink driving, criminal damage and drunk and disorderly, but there were no major problems.

Sergeant Ally Livingstone said: “Tonight has been quieter than a lot of other Thursday nights but I'm not sure how much of that is attributable to the weather.”

He accepts last night was an entirely different proposition to a Friday or Saturday night, when police expect to be called upon far more.

“I think it will gradually get busier as the weekend goes on,” he said. “At the moment everyone is holding their breath because they don't know how people will react.”

Three drinkers who were determined to have a good time last night were Andrew Cook, Ben Stuart and Daniel Pulham, all aged 23 and from Ipswich. They welcome the new laws.

Mr Cook, sipping a pint of lager in Ollies, said: “We're guys who hate clubbing and we'd rather just stay in the pub past 11pm and have another drink.”

His friend Mr Pulham added: “We've been waiting for these new licensing hours for so long. We're not going to cause trouble. We just want to have a drink past 11pm.”

Sgt Livingstone said the police's zero tolerance tactics are not aimed at law-abiding people like these three men.

He said: “The approach we're adopting in no way seeks to stop people from having fun. We want to encourage people to come into Ipswich and that's why we're nipping any trouble in the bud.”

Although many revellers and licensees have welcomed the extended hours, not everyone holds the same view.

Cabbie Darryl Thurlow, 39, who works from the Tower Ramparts Bus Station, fears the later closing times may result in fewer taxis being available.

He said: “We've all got to go later if we want the trade. I can't speak for all other drivers but I know some who won't want to do it.”

As far as the weather is concerned, Evening Star weatherman Ken Blowers, said: “The freezing winds are now coming straight from the Arctic.

“There will be no real quantity of snow here but there may be a few snow, sleet and hail showers today, tomorrow and Sunday.

“The wind speed now is 20-25mph and the wind chill is about -6C.”

Mr Blowers said he expected the cold spell to last until at least Tuesday.

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