Late night drinking put on hold by Council

Publicans angry over delays to new licences

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Chiswick publicans are angry over the time it is taking Hounslow Council to consider applications for opening hours following the introduction of the new Licensing Act.

Every establishment serving alcohol must apply for a new licence and many are taking the opportunity to extend their opening hours. The Government have said that increasing the times at which alcohol can be served will lead to a more continental style of drinking, whilst opponents have voiced fears of widespread binge-drinking.

However, Chiswick will not see a great change in drinking times and patterns - at least, not yet. A majority of the bars and pubs contacted today by had not received a decision from Hounslow Council's licensing officers.

One disgruntled restaurant owner, who wanted to remain anonymous, told us that he was "not very impressed at all. I applied in the summer but I've heard nothing. All I want is to be able to stay open for an extra hour - until midnight - on Fridays and Saturdays". A publican along Chiswick High Road was equally annoyed, saying that the Council had "done bugger all" to process his application.

Many premises are applying for extensions that they can use if demand is high. One publican, who has received an answer from Hounslow, told us "I can stay open until 1am, but I'll only do that for special occasions. It's nice to have the flexibility but I don't want to open late every night."

Some extensions have been granted - JBs Bar on Chiswick High Street will be opening until 0130 on Saturday nights - and others are pending hearings because of the volume of objections. Pubs in the part of Chiswick that falls under Ealing Council have had better responses. The Stag, on Acton Lane, may be opening from 7am to 2.30am at weekends.

Local Police have downplayed fears that the new Act will lead to chaos on our streets. Inspector Wynne Jones, who is heading an anti drunk violence campaign, told us "The new laws allow police to react quicker in the event of problems. We can provide intelligence to the local Council and come down with zero tolerance where we find problems".

24 Nov 2005