Publicans call for drinking changes

Drop Folder Features. Pic Kevin Allen.'Scarborough People.'Paul Murray at Vivaz.'094481.
Drop Folder Features. Pic Kevin Allen.'Scarborough People.'Paul Murray at Vivaz.'094481.

PUB owners in Scarborough are backing an appeal to call time on 24-hour drinking in the town.

Several publicans say they support a proposed pilot scheme in the winter, which was put forward at a meeting in May organised by the Safer Communities Partnership.

The scheme, which is also backed by Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill, would see pubs in the town close at 11pm during the week, and at midnight on weekends.

Paul Murray, who runs Vivaz in Huntriss Row and is chairman of the Scarborough Pub Watch Scheme, believes that cheap supermarket booze is “killing the pub trade”.

He said: “We are having to stay open till the early hours now just to make a living, because rather than come out early, people are getting boozed up at home.

“They then come out and buy maybe two drinks when they are in the pub, so the pubs are really making next to nothing.

The plans were also backed by Newcastle Packet landlady Kath Duffy, president of the Scarborough Licensed Victuallers’ Association, who believes longer opening hours are putting a huge strain on pubs and police resources.

She said: “On the seafront at the weekend we get a lot of people throughout the day coming down for a drink, and it’s really busy.

“Now that the bars are open until the early hours, we don’t get a police presence when we need it during the day because the police are all working late.

“My pub’s open until 1am at the weekend, and as a result of the later opening hours we tend to get loads of riff-raff from other pubs coming in.”

Officials had hoped that the introduction of later opening hours would lead to a decrease in the amount of alcohol-related problems in the town, as well as a fall in the amount of hospital admissions due to binge drinking.

Despite this, last year 3,000 people were admitted to accident and emergency in Scarborough with drink-related problems

However, Inspector Tony Quinn, from Scarborough police, believes that the problem with drink in the town stretches far beyond affecting only the night-time economy.

He says that although crime related to the night-time economy has fallen, drink-related incidents have remained high, with the underlying problem being the sale of cut-price supermarket alcohol.

“The problem isn’t just affecting pubs and clubs. Scarborough has issues with teenage drinking and domestic abuse, issues that are often fuelled by the sale of cheap drink.”