‘Super Tuesday’ for pubs: Three councils vote against EMRO plans

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: World cup

EMROs allow licensing authorities to restrict the sale of alcohol between midnight and 6am
EMROs allow licensing authorities to restrict the sale of alcohol between midnight and 6am
Retailers have today welcomed decisions from three local authorities to ‘see sense’ and vote against the imposition of Early Morning Restriction Orders (EMROs) on licensed premises.

Warrington and Woking councilors have voted against the introduction of EMROs, while those in Norwich have forced a rethink and delayed proceedings until the New Year.

Kate Nicholls, affairs director for the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), said: “Yesterday really was the trade’s Super Tuesday where our concerted efforts to convince the merits of working in partnership with us and against EMRO and Levy consultations came to fruition.

“In Warrington, we successfully convinced the Licensing Committee that an EMRO would be hugely damaging to local businesses, with trade simply migrating away.

“In Woking, the Licensing Committee rejected a proposal for a Levy and an EMRO after we persuaded them of the merits of partnership working and in Norwich we forced a rethink and delayed proceedings until the New Year.

“In each case, we have raised serious procedural concerns about the handling of consultations and it is clear that in too many cases the police and licensing authority are failing to undertake a robust impact assessment to determine the socio-economic, community and financial risks of proceeding. Where they do, many of them are rightly deciding to think again.”

Resistance

The framework for EMROs was first outlined in the Licensing Act of 2003 but they did not become law until the Government passed the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and they finally came into force in October last year.   

In effect, the orders allow licensing authorities to restrict the sale of alcohol for the whole or part of their area for any period of time between midnight and 6am. The rejections so far mean no council has yet decided to introduce an EMRO.

The ALMR has been working closely with licensing specialists Poppleston Allen to resist proposals for late-night levies and EMROs across the country and encourage local authorities to back partnership working.

No recurring problem

Speaking after Warrington Borough Council’s decision not to proceed with a levy or EMRO, Jonathan Smith, managing partner at Poppleston Allen, said: “We worked hard with Warrington to convince them of the need to work with the trade to explore alternative options.

“By pointing out the weaknesses in the police data – none of which predated 2005 and which showed footfall increasing but crime and disorder reducing – we were able to demonstrate that there was no ‘recurring problem’.”

Commenting after Woking’s decision to reject proposals for an EMRO, Clare Eames, another partner at Poppleston Allen, added: “We are delighted that the Council accepted our representations, acknowledging that an EMRO would not be appropriate, deterring local business development and potentially sending patrons of Woking's night time economy to other nearby towns and that a levy would amount to an additional tax on legitimate licensing activities and fail to target individual premises that may cause concern.”

World Cup

Yesterday (Tuesday) also brought news for pubs from across the rest of the UK, as  the England football team’s qualification for next summer’s World Cup could be worth £50m for the British pub trade, according to the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

The team confirmed their place at next year’s tournament in Brazil with a 2-0 win over Poland in Wembley.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds tweeted: “Congratulations England - through to the World Cup Finals. What potential for a £50 million boost to British beer and pubs!”

The World Cup takes place between Thursday 12 June and Sunday 13 July 2014.

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