The Duke of York, on Rathbone Street, is believed to be one of the first premises on which a licensing authority has ordered a review, since a change to legislation in April. Westminster is concerned about the number of people congregating and drinking outside the premises.
This is the second similar case on the same street from the controversial council. On 4 October the Publican’s Morning Advertiser highlighted the case of the Newman Arms , which agreed to slow down service to prevent a licence review. The council wanted the premises to reduce the number of after-work drinkers on the street.
Under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, licensing authorities are now ‘responsible authorities’ , which means they can order a review of a licence without waiting for another ‘responsible authority’ (eg the police or local residents) to initiate the review.
In August, the Duke of York’s designated premises supervisor Alan Monks and the premises licence holder Greene King agreed to use barriers and a high-visibility jacket to supervise outside drinkers as they were fearful of a licence review.
However, licensing inspectors said they found no evidence of an employee in a high-visibility jacket, and the barriers that had been put up did not leave room for wheelchair users to pass.
“This is a warning shot to operators,” said Clare Eames of licensing law firm Poppleston Allen.
“It is the licensing authority and Westminster saying that outside drinking, if not managed properly, is subject to a review. It is not going to be good news.
“Everyone knows that 10 years ago people were drinking all over the shop in Westminster, but this unfettered enjoyment is being systematically challenged.”
A Westminster City Council spokesman said: “We will continue to work with pub owners in order to establish a way to address serious issues, including road safety.”
Nobody at the pub was willing to comment until the outcome of the review hearing, and Greene King was unavailable for comment.
The licence review hearing is set for 22 November and the final date for interested parties to make a representation to the licensing authority is 29 October.