Pubs giant acts to allay concerns

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A PUBS giant has moved to allay fears about the potential for crime and disorder at its new premises in Bury St Edmunds after introducing a series of licensing conditions.

JD Wetherspoons has agreed to introduce CCTV, ban customers from drinking alcohol outside and maintain a dialogue with the community as part of its premises licence for the Corn Exchange, in Abbeygate Street.

The conditions were agreed by St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Licensing Act sub-committee as well the removal of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Retailing.

Councillors also rubber- stamped increased licensing hours so the pub can sell alcohol from 9am to 11.30pm Sunday to Thursday and 9am to 12.30am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Suffolk Police and Bury Town Council had objected to the code being dropped with fears over increased crime and disorder. Meanwhile the Churchgate Area Association raised concerns about the opening hours.

Following discussions with Wetherspoons bosses, the conditions were drafted and the Police and association withdrew their representations to the borough council.

The company agreed to use digital CCTV at the premises, keep a safe deposit box for confiscated items and maintain a record of refusals of service or admission. Wetherspoons will hold two resident meetings within six months of opening and further ones at six monthly intervals if they are requested by the association.

There will also be no provision for people to drink alcohol outside and customers will be asked not to take alcoholic drinks outside.

Nigel Connor, head of legal at Wetherspoons, said the code made the premises licence ‘unwieldy’ but they would abide by its principles. Cllr Paul Simner said the conditions satisfied the town council.