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Publican slams all night drinks decision

PUBLISHED: 15:46 31 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:06 03 March 2010

NEW Year revellers could be set to drink around the clock in Ipswich, with licensing hours being relaxed for a 36-hour period.

But one town centre licensee has slammed the decision to allow all-night drinking.

NEW Year revellers could be set to drink around the clock in Ipswich, with licensing hours being relaxed for a 36-hour period.

But one town centre licensee has slammed the decision to allow all-night drinking.

"We will not be staying open through the night because we wouldn't be able to staff it," said Mark Collins, joint licensee of PJ McGinty's in Northgate Street.

"I don't think it's a good idea at all - it's just ludicrous."

He added: "We will be going to Charlton the next day to follow Ipswich Town, so I wouldn't want to stay open that late."

Mr Collins said McGinty's had originally been granted a 1am extension for New Year's Eve, but would now possibly stay open until around 2am.

The Government has granted a deregulation order to allow licensing hours to be relaxed for a 36-hour period from 11am on New Year's Eve to 11pm on New Year's Day.

However, Mark's father Michael, joint licensee of McGinty's and chairman of Pubwatch, said he had not heard of any pubs or clubs locally which were planning to take advantage of the full 36 hours.

"I certainly wouldn't want to be open 36 hours because I wouldn't be able to staff the place," he commented.

"It's probably all right in Soho and places like that but not in a lovely rural town like Ipswich. I don't think there's any need for it - what is the town going to be like the next day?"

However, Mr Collins stressed he thought that British licensing laws were far too inflexible in general and should be relaxed to allow landlords to stay open until 1 or 2am at their own discretion.

The 36-hour period applies only to drinking and not to public entertainment, but Ipswich council, in consultation with police, have agreed to allow extended hours of public entertainment on New Year's Eve.

Pubs will be allowed to hold entertainments until 2am, wine bars until 3am and nightclubs until 4am.

Marc Dawson, manager of the Opium Lounge, said they would be open for dancing until 4am on New Year's Eve and the bar would also be open.

"It's still going to be the same price on the door so it is really an extra bonus for customers."

He said the longer hours would make it more worthwhile for people to travel into Ipswich from further afield.

Pete Greenland, who owns Bar IV and the Vodka Bar, which will be open until about 2am said: "I can't see anyone taking the 36 hour period but it gives places more opportunity to do what they want."

Suffolk Police spokesman Steve Henry said the licensing hours had been relaxed to celebrate the Millennium and that had not led to problems.

"We will have officers in the town and will work closely with pubs and clubs and with the doormen."

He urged people who were going out over the New Year to be sensible and not to drink and drive. "Don't spend New Year in a police cell."

NEW YEAR'S EVE CLOSING TIMES

Bar IV/Vodka Bar: 2am

Brannigans: 2am

Chicago's: 2am

Curve Bar: 1am

Edwards: 1am

Golden Lion: 1am

Great White Horse: 12.30am (main bar)

Kartouche: 3am

Liquid: 3am

New York Exchange Bar: 2am

Old Rep: 1am

Ollie's Cocktail Cafe: 1am

Opium Lounge: 4am

Pals: 2am

Yates: 1am

(Times are subject to change)


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