Westminster bans street drinking

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Westminster city council, Environmental health officer, Soho

Endurance: No drinking outside after 6pm
Endurance: No drinking outside after 6pm
The Council has won its attempt to ban drinking - or smoking - on the streets outside a pub after 6pm.

Westminster City Council has won its bid to ban drinking - or smoking - on the street outside a pub after 6pm.

This is despite the fact around 30 residents and a number of local businesses and traders opposed plans to knock back the hours.

The lawyer representing the Endurance on Berwick Street believes this is the "thin end of the wedge" as Westminster moves to ban outdoor drinking - a claim denied by the council.

An environmental health officer called the review, in which Westminster tried to impose 12 conditions to the licence, including the 6pm curfew.

Drinking out the front was previously allowed until 11pm. Customers who want to smoke after 6pm must use a designated area at the back.

There was one complaint from a resident and one incident of crime outside the pub - a theft of a laptop computer - in the past six months.

Julian Skeens of Jeffrey Green Russell Solicitors, representing the pub, said an appeal will be lodged.

"Licensees don't feel they can get any justice when Westminster represents themselves in front of themselves. It seems inappropriate.

"There's been one complaint against the Endurance. On the other pubs they can't find a complaint so they haven't acted against them, but they will do.

"Westminster wants to ban drinking outdoors and it's the thin edge of the wedge."

Continued problems

Westminster cllr Daniel Astaire said: "Unfortunately we have had continued problems with this particular pub and our environmental health officers found that the complaints of noise were entirely justified.

"We have tried to work with the pub to resolve this problem on several occasions and we regret that this review was necessary."

Skeens pointed out that all but two complaints over the past few years had been from one resident - who supported the pub in the review hearing.

Astaire added: "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 by creating calm oases away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets."

Endurance's licensee had lodged a petition - signed by 7,400 people --on the Prime Minister's website slated Westminster for trying to ban outdoor drinking.

Related topics: Licensing law

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