Sidmouth pub launches late-night opening bid, despite concerns about rowdy drinkers

Revellers in the street.

Revellers in the street. - Credit: Archant

A pub landlady says extended opening hours during FolkWeek were such a success she wants them every weekend, despite complaints about rowdy drinkers in the street and people urinating in alleyways.

A pub landlady says extended opening hours during FolkWeek were such a success she wants them every weekend, despite concerns about rowdy drinkers spilling over into the street.

“We are filling a gap left by Carinas,” said Lynnette Helmer, landlady of the Black Horse.

The pub in Fore Street had extended hours for the first time during FolkWeek following the closure of Carinas nightclub earlier this year.

It had a temporary licence and served alcohol until 1.30am for every night of the festival except one, closing at 2am.

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Mrs Helmer has now applied to have extended hours for this year’s Regatta. “I think it was such a success I would like to do it every weekend,” she said.

But the plans have prompted concern from one resident who said: “This is not the way forward. Licensing need to grasp the nettle and say ‘sorry, no, this is not the right place’.”

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Speaking of the festival, the resident added: “They may as well have moved the bar outside, there were so many of them shouting, effing and blinding, and engaging in general anti-social behaviour. The street was swarming with drinkers.

“It’s turning out to be a booze-fuelled carnival and giving the event a bad name.”

The police were called to two separate street altercations during the week but security boss Ben Waring believes it is a positive sign.

He said: “This was a vast improvement on previous years. Only two situations involving fights, I would have thought that was good. It’s giving somewhere for people to express themselves and get some recreation.”

Sgt Andy Squires, of Sidmouth police, said: “We didn’t see any particular disorder. We saw eight days of good humoured fun.”

Mrs Helmer revealed she had also been in discussions with the owners, Enterprise Inns, the biggest pub chain in the country, about improving soundproofing and making internal modifications to avoid causing disruption to the community.

“It was a learning curve for us. It’s a matter of tolerance,” she said. There are a lot of young people in this town if you give them the facilities,” she said.

A complaint related to the Black Horse pub was also submitted to the licensing department at East Devon District Council but a spokesman for EDDC said that after consultation ‘no further action is being considered’.

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