Westminster: no plans to ban outside drinking

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Licence review, Soho, Westminster city council

A London council has branded as "ridiculous" claims it is planning to ban outside drinking.The claims, sparked by a licence review involving a Soho...

A London council has branded as "ridiculous" claims it is planning to ban outside drinking.

The claims, sparked by a licence review involving a Soho pub, have led to more than 7,000 people putting their names to an online protest petition.

Alan Drew, licensee of the Endurance in Berwick Street, launched the petition ahead of the review on June 26.

Westminster City Council is seeking to have nine conditions added to the pub's licence, including a ban on outside drinking and a ban on smokers congregating outside the pub, as well as a move to restrict capacity inside to 75.

Drew claims he understands the council has a political agenda to ban street drinking in the area.

But Cllr Daniel Astaire, cabinet member for community protection, said: "Westminster has no plans to ban outside drinking in Soho or in the city as a whole. These are ridiculous rumours that are totally inaccurate and wholly misleading.

"Indeed, the council is actively trying to promote responsible alfresco-style dining and drinking in certain parts of the city."

The Endurance's licence is under review following complaints about outside noise - although Drew claims only one local resident is unhappy.

"We get about 160 in here on a good Friday night - if this goes through I'll have no option but to close," he said.

"It's not right that one person can do this, we've never had the police down here in seven years."

But Cllr Astaire claimed the pub's licence was being reviewed following a "long history of complaints" about noise.

"The council has previously tried to work with this pub to resolve this problem and we regret that this review is now necessary," he added.

While the council said it was true it was looking to restrict capacity to 75, it said it would allow this to increase to 150 if a third, currently out-of-use, door at the pub was opened up again.

Westminster is now planning to send an email to every signatory to the petition, clarifying its policy.

To see the online petition visit http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/SaveOurSoho/

Related topics: Licensing law

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