Trade welcomes council decision against EMRO

Artesian WellThe licensed trade has welcomed a decision by a London council not to introduce an early morning restriction order (EMRO) in a popular nightlife destination.

Lambeth Borough Council decided against imposing an EMRO that would have set a terminal hour of midnight in the area around North Street and Wandsworth Road in Clapham, south London.

While the decision is likely to be reviewed in six months’ time, it was welcomed by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and operators in the area.

ALMR strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls said: “We are obviously very pleased that the council has seen common sense and not sought to penalise operators with a restriction that is tantamount to an Asbo for the area.

“The ALMR has consistently reiterated its belief that licensing authorities should look to exhaust all voluntary schemes before resorting to an EMRO, which should only be considered when all else fails.

“We have seen levels of crime descending to all-time lows, particularly anti-social behaviour offences around licensed premises.

“The rejection of this EMRO ensures that hard-working retailers in Clapham can continue to explore ways to encourage responsible drinking themselves as well as allowing them to operate on a level playing field.”

Bar and pub operators in the area are set to be part of a new business improvement district (BID) partnership being formed by local businesses as Clapham Business Community.

However, Kate said: “The introduction of an EMRO would have undermined support for a Clapham BID and would have only imposed unnecessary sanctions which would have done nothing positive to solve any problems in the area.”

Lambeth council’s proposal was opposed by the owners of The Artesian Well, a bar on the corner of North Street and Wandsworth Road which opens until 3am at weekends.

The owners of the bar, which opened 15 years ago, have worked with the council and residents to prevent crime and nuisance. However, they blamed a “malicious witch hunt” by local residents who wanted to close licensed premises in the area.

“We must stand together, as it will not stop with Wandsworth Road,” they warned as part of their campaign against the EMRO. “Lambeth have already highlighted that they are seeking to roll out EMROs throughout Clapham High Street, Brixton and the borough of Lambeth, effectively killing the vibrant night-time economy that the area has now become known for.”

The EMRO has also been fought by The Lost Group which operates Lost Society in Wandsworth Road, open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

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