Sunday, 12 August 2007

Our nights out in publand

On Friday night from 9-10.30 pm Richard Rout and I walked through the town to see for ourselves whether the smoking ban was having an impact on behaviour at pubs and bars in the historic core. On Saturday Richard did so alone, and took one or two photographs for the record. Here are So-Bar customers on the pavement of Hatter Street at about 10.30pm. For the record, Hatter Street houses 21 residents.

Our main conclusion was that this was a very quiet weekend, whether because it was the middle of the month or holiday time or both we can only guess. Certainly the police staff on duty on Friday (including PC Paul Fax and PCSO Ryan Wilson) were so convinced of this that when we suggested to them that it was quiet they told us to shhhh in case things changed!

We went around all the pubs and bars in the historic core. The D&P was busy, with its garden pretty well full. The smokers were in it and that and the heat will have attracted others there. The Queens head had another busy garden, plus several smokers on the pavement, whilst the Hide Bar had none. So-Bar was busy outside on both nights.
It is difficult to draw conclusions from our mini survey, but there is no doubt in my mind that the smoking ban is bound to bring customers on the street, especially where there is no garden. Those patrons are not likely to keep particularly quiet, so that in the small final licensing hours there will inevitably be an additional nuisance to nearby residents.
I therefore believe that our Licensing Policy should reflect this situation, and that Licensing Act panels should take the ban into account when making decisions on individual licence applications.


david said...

I don't disagree but come back to my original comment that every licensee - including Jan Rutherford at the Queens Head - is entitled to expect fair and equal treatment. And, of course, that residents on the 'other side of the tracks', i.e. north of Brentgovel Street, need just as much sleep as those to the south of this imaginary line.

Paul said...

I'm heartened that you don't disagree, David. Of course everyone deserves fair treatment, but whether this can be strictly "equal" I doubt: circumstances can never be the same.

For example, the Queens Head is in a residential area, and this must be taken into account - other pubs which are not will inevitably be treated differently.

As for the "other side of the tracks", I leave that up to other councillors. I have more than enough licensed premises to deal with in Abbeygate.

david said...

The Queens Head is within the commercial sector of the town centre.

Paul said...

It is almost adjacent to a building described by our planners as in a part of Churchgate Street in "mixed use in nature containing...a number of residential properties...It can be deduced...that the residential component in this part of the historic core constibutes significantly to this part of the (town)...(which is) outside the designated retail area".

(Item 1 DC meeting 5th Feb 2004)

So fairly residential then and not too commercial.

david said...

I am relying on the Local Plan 2016.

Paul said...

In that case you should refer to it more precisely David. On the LP map the Queens Head is more or less covered by a dot which marks the border of "the shopping centre" so it is arguably not in it. It is certainly not in the "primary shopping centre".

"Commercial sector" is not a term I can find in the map key, nor maybe in the plan itself. But you should know: weren't you on the committee that produced it?

david said...

Paul - the Queens Head is clearly inside the dotted line so you have no argument that it is outside.

You are right, however, that I was one of the 10 Members of Planning Policy Panel which recommended the Local Plan 2016 to full council. It was approved by, I think, every Member at the time. This includes you.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but is there room for anything or anyone else? This blog is getting boring.

Paul said...

I agree anon. Let's have some more views, and not just David's and mine!