Pitcher and Piano fined for allowing drinkers to move 'rhythmically'

Related tags Trafalgar square Soho City of westminster Dudley breweries

Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries (W&DB), owner of high street chain Pitcher & Piano, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,600 costs...

Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries (W&DB), owner of high street chain Pitcher & Piano, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,600 costs in addition to its own legal fees yesterday (November 20) after Westminster Council found people "moving rhythmically" to music in two of its sites - Trafalgar Square and Soho.

In the latest ridiculous enforcement from Westminster City Council, licensees of premises without public entertainment licences (PEL) are being threatened with prosecution if they allow customers to move in a way that could constitute dancing.

Under existing laws, pubs need not apply for a PEL providing live entertainment is put on by no more than two performers and there is no dancing.

Derek Andrew, Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries' (W&DB) managed house boss, said: "We have signs up everywhere, managers instruct customers, we turn the music down, rearrange the furniture and so on. Unfortunately we can't always stop people acting spontaneously.

"W&DB is a responsible organisation which has tried at every opportunity to comply with the minute detail of the law and to find ourselves in court for 'offences' of this nature is deeply disturbing."

Meanwhile, Fuller's has been served two written warnings on the Ship in Wardour Street, Soho, about people found "swaying".

The notorious council's latest move will exacerbate trade concerns that switching licensing control to local authorities will lead to an increase in bureaucracy.The fear is that other councils may follow Westminster's lead.

Westminster Council said that enforcing this rule was a health and safety issue as licensees who were encouraging dancing had not met any of the required safety restrictions related to owning a dancing venue.

A spokeswoman said the council will consider if a licensee is encouraging dancing by looking at whether they have made a dance floor, are playing dance music or have flashing lights.

Related topics Legislation

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