Pub chain defends 9am Ipswich opening

TWO of Ipswich's town centre pubs have been criticised today for intending to sell alcohol from 9am every day.The Cricketers, in Crown Street, and the Golden Lion, on the Cornhill, both owned by national pub chain JD Wetherspoon, will implement the proposed opening times from November 24.

TWO Ipswich town centre pubs have been criticised today for intending to sell alcohol from 9am every day, starting later this month.

The Cricketers, in Crown Street, and the Golden Lion, on the Cornhill, both owned by national pub chain JD Wetherspoon, will implement the proposed opening times from November 24.

The Cricketers will be open until 11.30pm every day, while the Golden Lion will be open until midnight between Sunday and Thursday and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

The earlier opening times come after changes to the legislation surrounding licensing laws in England and Wales.

However, the move has been met with fierce criticism from some quarters amid claims it will lead to increased alcohol abuse.

One recovering alcoholic from Suffolk, who did not want to be named, said the changes would be “unhelpful” to those battling their addiction.

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He said: “When I was drinking, I could always get hold of alcohol even if it wasn't at the pub, but for those alcoholics that only use the pub, this is hardly helping them.

“If I was still drinking and these changes came into force, I know I would be in the pub from 9am.

“I understand the pubs are arguing they want to be able to open for coffee and breakfast, but that seems strange to me.”

While critical of the decision by pub operators to extend opening hours, the former alcoholic also labelled the government's change in the law as “absurd”.

He said: “I can't understand the government's thinking behind this.

“I'm all for relaxing the drinking laws slightly but for the government to be concentrating on this so much, there must be some sort of ulterior motive.

“It's especially unhelpful in towns and cities where there will be a congregation of people drinking for long periods of time.

“Alcoholism is on the increase and the people coming to self help groups are getting younger.”

But a spokesman for JD Wetherspoon defended the decision to extend their opening hours.

He said: “Wetherspoon and other pubs have been given the opportunity to apply for extended hours which have been granted.

“We believe the people of Ipswich will welcome the chance to eat and drink earlier and later and we will continue to provide our usual high standards in both pubs.”

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