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Rickmansworth - extended opening hours blocked by residents

15th August 2005

PR 424

The interests of local people prevailed at Three Rivers District Council's licensing committee meeting last Friday (12 August). One application by a Rickmansworth pub for extended opening hours under the new licensing laws was rejected by the Committee and another was withdrawn by the applicant - both as a result of representations from local people.

The new licensing laws require that any application for extended opening hours meets with several criteria, including the prevention of crime and disorder and the prevention of public nuisance.

An application for extended opening at the Druids public house was turned down and the Fox and Hounds public house's application was withdrawn by the landlord following concerns received from local residents. Written representations were made by a number of local people to the Committee, including residents of Wensum Court sheltered accommodation in Rickmansworth High Street.

Evidence for objection raised by local people included late night noise levels, car doors slamming, taxi traffic and concerns about possible anti-social behaviour.

Chair of the Licensing Committee, Councillor Chris Brearley, said:

"Any extension of opening hours must meet with strict criteria. We need to be reassured that there will not be excessive noise or other public nuisance. Both landlords in these applications have followed proper procedures and made reasonable cases but the case made by local people has prevailed."

He added:

"We have to strike a balance between the needs of responsible drinkers and the interests of local residents - in particular their right to a peaceful night's sleep. Three Rivers is a good place to live and we are working to keep it that way."

Miss L M Sandall, who lives in Rickmansworth, addressed the Committee on Friday. She said:

"Extending any pub's opening hours has a major impact on the lives of people living in the area. The longer hours the pubs stay open the less of a normal life we get to live. The hearing seemed to go well and it is important that people are informed that an application has been made."

The transition to the new licensing regime under the Licensing Act 2003 began in February this year. The deadline for conversion of existing rights ended on 6 August 2005 but it is still possible for those who have missed this deadline to make a new application.

Promoting local safety is one of the main themes of Three Rivers District Council.