COUNCILLORS have rejected plans to restrict the hours alcohol can be sold in pubs and clubs in the town centre of Hartlepool.
Hartlepool Borough Council was considering proposals for an Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Order (EMRO), which would prohibit the sale of alcohol from 2am-6am and bring an end to the 24-hour drinking in town.
It followed representations from Cleveland Police and Louise Wallace, the director of public health in Hartlepool, who say crime and disorder continues to be a “significant issue”.
But the council’s licensing committee has today thrown out plans and say they are mindful of the concerns raised by local licensees that a reduction in opening hours, in the current economic climate, could have “serious consequences” for the viability of businesses.
Representatives from national pub chains including Marston’s, which runs 12 pubs in Hartlepool, and Punch Taverns had also objected and they spoke at the meeting at the Civic Centre.
Hartlepool currently has 13 premises licensed to serve alcohol beyond 2am and licensing chiefs say unless there are specific problems associated with particular premises the council has no power to reduce their operating hours.
If the EMRO had been adopted it would have allowed the council to prohibit the sale of alcohol from all premises in a defined area within any times between midnight and 6am seven days a week, covering the town centre area, from August 13, this year.
But the licensing committee has rejected the plans.