Later opening hours risk inflaming antisocial behaviour

Plans by a café bar in south Wales to open until 3am were rejected because of the adverse impact on public safety.

The premises lay within an area dominated by vertical drinking establishments which were very popular with late night revellers. The appellants sought to extend the hours of opening from 9am to 11.30pm to 7am and 3am the following morning. The council, supported by the police, argued that the saturation of licensed premises in the area had led to an increasing number of violent incidents and disorder. However, the appellants responded stating that the premises had a licence to open during the proposed hours and they planned to create a link to an adjoining nightclub so that customers could travel between the two without having to walk along the street.

In assessing the evidence an inspector noted the strong objection from the police who had highlighted the wide range of incidents caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol. It created many problems for policing with the road having the highest number of recorded assaults and public order offences of any street in the centre.

Allowing the appeal would allow more people to remain drinking in the premises for longer and despite the link to the nightclub, at some point they would enter the street and surrounding area.

The clear link between violent offences and the consumption of alcohol was overwhelming and consequently to allow opening until 3am was inappropriate. The inspector did agree, however, that allowing the premises to open from 7am in the morning would not increase crime levels and the appeal was allowed on this basis.

Inspector Tim Belcher; Hearing

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