Landlords split on all-day drinking

LANDLORDS across Suffolk have aired mixed views today over the effects an open-all-hours policy at pubs in the region will have.A change in licensing laws in 2005 will mean landlords can apply to their local councils for extended licences to keep pub's doors open.

LANDLORDS across Suffolk have aired mixed views today over the effects an open-all-hours policy at pubs in the region will have.

A change in licensing laws in 2005 will mean landlords can apply to their local councils for extended licences to keep pub's doors open.

Landlords can apply for the licences in February next year, however doors would not be able to stay serving after 11pm until November.

Michael Collins, chairman of the Ipswich Pubwatch, thinks longer drinking hours will bring about more problems.


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Mr Collins, who is also the landlord of P J McGinty on Northgate Street, said: "At one stage I would have advised everybody to apply for the licence even if they don't use it.

"But with the drinking problems in the town at the moment I don't think pubs should apply for it.

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"If it was brought in it would be the customer that would suffer as drink prices would have to rise to pay for the extra bar staff needed."

Bob Williams, landlord of The Salutation, on Carr Street, said: "I believe there should be a cut off time in any pub and while it may benefit to have it later than it is it should still be in place.

"However I have been a landlord for 40 years and if somebody seems to be drinking too much or in a short space of time I will refuse them custom. I think landlords are responsible enough to run their pubs no matter how long the doors are open for.

"People should be given more credit too. There are 24 hour supermarkets serving alcohol all of the time and yet people are not permanently drunk through that."

Keith Moody, landlord of the Felsto Arms, in Felixstowe, said: "I would apply for an extended licence but would not open for the full 24 hours.

"I think people should have a choice over the hours they drink but it should be governed."

Nick Hamlon, landlord of The Royal Oak, in Stowmarket, said: "I think longer opening hours would mean a drop in drinking related problems. People wouldn't be leaving pubs at the same time and so violent incidences would drop.

"I think binge drinking would disappear too. People would probably drink the same amount but over a longer period of time. Not everyone throws beer down their throat until they are chucked out at the end of the night anyway."

RESIDENTS also offered contradicting views on the idea of pubs being open permanently.

Ipswich resident Michael Flewitt, 21, welcomed the chance to drink in the town centre pubs at any hour.

He said: "I think it's a good idea because while I enjoy going to nightclubs it would be great to choose on the night whether to stay in the pubs or go onto a livelier night spot.

"I also believe it would help calm problems in the streets when all the youngsters gather at the end of the night."

Jackie Laws, of Grundisburgh, said: "It may be a nice idea in the summer to be able to stay out a little longer in a pub but I think longer drinking hours would fuel binge drinking and enhance existing problems in the town."

Simon Lambert, of Ipswich, said: "People have plenty of time to drink and I disagree with the argument that it will prevent binge drinking. I think people will simply drink a lot more and cause even more problems."

A member of alcoholics anonymous said he did not believe 24-hour licensing would increase the number of those dependant on alcohol.

The recovering alcoholic said: "I can't honestly see it is going to make a difference. Anyone who is addicted to alcohol will find it whatever the opening hours are going to be. Besides the supermarkets are now opening 24 hours a day and there are only so many hours you can keep drinking before you black out or pass out."

What do you think of 24-hour pubs? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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