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Weymouth pub and club early closure measure ruled out
NEW measures to force Weymouth pubs and clubs to shut earlier have been ruled out for the summer.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s licensing Committee debated whether or not to look at such options as an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) for the town centre.
A report compiled by Dorset Police for the meeting said there was evidence supporting the case for an EMRO.
The committee agreed with Insp Fry and decided to review the situation after the 2013 summer season as landlords stressed that Weymouth is a safe place to go out.
Now police, licensees and the borough council will be working together to promote the town’s night-time economy.
Insp Fry said: “I’d like to use the goodwill and support of licensees in Weymouth to go forward and look at opportunities and initiatives to make Weymouth a better place.”
According to a report to the committee, an EMRO ‘enables a licensing authority to prohibit the sale of alcohol for a specified time period between the hours of 12am and 6am in the whole, or part, of its area, if it is satisfied that this would be appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives’.
EMROs are designed to address recurring problems including high levels of alcohol related crime and disorder in specific area at specific times.
Following the meeting, bar owners said they were pleased the EMRO hadn’t been adopted as they didn’t believe there was any evidence for it.
They stressed that hey would be happy to work with other licensees, groups like Pubwatch and the police to work on initiatives to encourage people into the town to boost the evening and night-time economy. Manager at The New Vic Matthew Barkle said that the dynamic had changed and people were going to town later.
He said: “When pubs are closing at 11, people think ‘I have to be out by 8pm or my night’s over’.”
He added that in Taunton, the bars and clubs had used an initiative where people had to be in by 12.30am then the club would stay open till 2am or 3am.
Brett Dunster, from Aura and Dusk, pictured below, said it was about working with groups like Pubwatch and the police to re-educate people.
He said: “It’s okay to come out at 7pm and enjoy an evening and go home early.”
He said that the ‘evidence isn’t there to show an EMRO is needed’.
Mr Dunster added that the message to get out was that Weymouth is a safe place to go out and people should consider coming out earlier and enjoying both the evening and night-time economy.
Owner of the Bourneville Hotel Mark Cole said: “We wish to work hand in hand with the bars. I recognise if the bars are doing well everyone’s doing well.”
But one hotelier, who did not wish to be named, said they would like to see the nightclubs ‘moved away from the seafront’ or ‘closing at 12am or 1am’.