End of West End happy hours if Westminster plans get go-ahead

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Related tags: Westminster city council, London, Drinking culture, City of westminster

Happy hours could be banned in pubs and bars in the West End of London if proposals by Westminster City Council are given the go ahead.The proposals...

Happy hours could be banned in pubs and bars in the West End of London if proposals by Westminster City Council are given the go ahead.

The proposals are part of an attempt by the council to crack down on binge drinking and yobbish behaviour.

Happy hours and other two-for-the-price-of-one offers, would be regulated by a "minimum pricing agreement".

Although the agreement would be voluntary, licensees who do not participate could be looked on unsympathetically when their licences are up for renewal.

The proposals are contained within two independent studies on the future of Westminster's entertainment industry which were presented to councillors last week.

However, a similar scheme in Middlesbrough earlier this year ran into trouble when the Office of Fair Trading ruled a scheme to set a minimum price of £1.50 per drink went against competition laws.

Westminster is also considering other proposals which include following the example of many town and city centres and banning drinking on some or all streets. It is thought this could help curb disorder in busy areas such as Leicester Square.

Other measures include late-night pubs and clubs having a "chill-out hour" before closing, when no alcohol will be served and customers can sober up before leaving.

Council leader Simon Milton said he believed some licensees went to "ridiculous extremes" with happy hours.

"The offers are not on for a limited period - they go on all day or afternoon and the idea is simply to get people to chuck as much alcohol down their throats as possible. That's not the kind of entertainment we're looking for in the West End."

Related topics: Legislation

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