Olympics: start dialogue over longer hours now

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Solicitors poppleston allen, Olympic games, Summer olympic games

Olympics: will pubs be able to open later?
Olympics: will pubs be able to open later?
Licensees have been urged to start a dialogue with licensing authorities now over extending opening hours for the Olympic Games in 2012.

Get talks underway with licensing authorities over extended opening hours for the Olympics now.

That was the key message from Jonathan Smith, of licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen, the Getting into Shape for 2012 conference, organised by the Morning Advertiser and M&C Report.

Smith said that there was unlikely to be a national relaxation of hours.

"It is important to start a dialogue with your authority — and start it now," he said.

Smith said a good example to use when putting your case forward was that the Olympic Park itself has a 2am licence. Events on some days won't finish until 11pm with some 34,000 members of the media also finishing late, there is a real opportunity for pubs to cash in on late night trade.

Concern

Smith cited a worrying statement on the Olympics that appears in the licensing policies of Westminster, Camden and Kensington & Chelsea. The policy states that during the period of the Games, "due consideration" will be given to representations from police because of stretched resources.

It said that if police believed licensing objectives could be compromised, "it is likely that such applications will not be granted".

"It is ridiculous that a big party is coming to and yet we get a statement like this," said Smith. "It could be possible to get an extension for six or seven weeks but you need to start thinking about it now."

The MA recently revealed that Westminster Council​ is examining plans to allow pubs to open later during the Games.

Conditions

The solicitors warned that it was not just as simple as applying for extended hours — conditions on the licence must also be considered such as the requirement for door staff. "You may get extended hours but have a last admission time on your licence or you may not be allowed children in after 9pm," said Smith. "You need to check carefully."

One other concern is whether authorities will restrict the use of pavements by operators because of the heavy flow of people. This action has been taken in several other Olympic cities.

There could also be potential problems with deliveries and refuse collection. It is likely that restrictions will be placed on deliveries to venues in London during normal working hours.

White nights

Len Olender, director, Sportsworld Group UK, who has worked on every Olympic Games since Atlanta in 1996 said last year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver featured several "White Nights" where all local businesses stayed open until 4am.

"It is good to get your trade associations to go and see the authorities rather than than risking getting them fed up with every one going to see them," he said.

Related topics: Sport

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