Pubs to shut on barmy Friday

LANDLORDS have welcomed plans to curb Christmas revellers' excessive drinking by closing pubs for two hours on 'Barmy Friday'.Police, Ipswich Borough Council and members of Ipswich's Pubwatch scheme will ask hostelries to shut between 5pm and 7pm to give people a chance to 'cool off'.

LANDLORDS have welcomed plans to curb Christmas revellers' excessive drinking by closing pubs for two hours on 'Barmy Friday'.

Police, Ipswich Borough Council and members of Ipswich's Pubwatch scheme will ask hostelries to shut between 5pm and 7pm to give people a chance to 'cool off'.

Tomorrow could be the busiest day of the year for town centre pubs and bars as staff at many firms finish work for the Christmas break at lunchtime and start celebrating straightaway.

The town chiefs' request, which also is also made for New Year's Eve, allows bar staff a much-needed break and is designed to encourage more responsible drinking.

It will also allow council staff time to clean up the town centre.

There will also be a closed door policy after 11pm on both, to stop the movement of customers at peak times.

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Christmas Eve is expected to be slightly quieter as it falls on a Monday this year.

“Friday is traditionally the busiest day of our year. That's why we call it Barmy Friday,” said Adrian Caldwell, landlord of the Cock and Pye in Upper Brook Street.

“People go a bit large. I think the closure is a sensible idea - I don't think people should drink from 12pm to 12am.”

Tracy Root, manager of the Lord Nelson Inn, in Fore Street, said she thought the idea was a good one.

“If we thought there was going to be trouble then we would close.

“But we don't get that much bad behaviour - we just want people to have a nice time.”

The police, council and Pubwatch organisers have made the request in previous years and feel it has worked well.

It is expected that the town will be busy on Friday and December 31st with people starting their celebrations much earlier in the day.

Inspector Steve Denham, from Ipswich police station, said: “The aims of the voluntary closures are to break up long drinking sessions and to give staff a break.

“The aim of the closed door policy is to prevent the movement of customers at peak times. It is important for all licensed premises to close at the same time to have full effect.”

Restaurants have been asked to operate a closed door policy between 5pm and 7pm but this won't affect pre-arranged bookings.

Insp Denham added: “We welcome people who come to Ipswich to enjoy themselves but if they drink irresponsibly we and our partners will take the appropriate action.”

The council and police will also be working with pubs and off-licenses to stamp out the sale of alcohol to underage and drunk people.

A council spokesman said: “The clear message to licensees and shop-owners is: 'Be vigilant and help us to keep Ipswich safe'.

Are you worried about Christmas celebrations going over the top? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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