Pub boss fears 9pm outdoor curfew will keep punters away
- Credit: Victoria Pertusa
The landlord of a city pub has spoken of his frustration after struggling to reach an agreement with the council over the opening hours of its beer garden.
The Coach and Horses, on Bethel Street, has a premises licence which allows the pub building itself to open until 1.30am.
However, its self-contained garden is only licensed until 9pm, meaning drinkers are unable to sit outside after this time.
While, ordinarily, this would not be a problem, with pubs limited to outdoor seating only from April 12, landlord Anthony Munro was hoping for some leeway on this to extend the outdoor opening hours until 11pm.
But he was told he would either need to apply to alter the pub's licence as a whole or use events notices to keep the outside area open longer.
Mr Munro said: "It just feels frustrating to me when it is such a minor change to go through the whole process - which does not come cheap.
"When a pub like ours has not made any money for six months out of the last year, that's not what we really want to have to do."
Mr Munro added: "People normally know they can come here and settle for the night, but knowing they will have to leave by nine may put them off, so it just won't be viable for us."
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A spokesman for Norwich City Council said its team had been doing "everything in its power" to support businesses, such as fast-tracking road closures, table and chair licences and "leaving no stone unturned" to dish out grants.
However, they added: “We’ve every sympathy for the Coach and Horses. Unfortunately, a request to make a permanent alteration to a current licence means we are forced by licensing laws to go through a public consultation rather than just apply those changes.
“We’ve been in touch with the owners and advised their solicitors what needs to happen next as well as made them aware that they have the possibility of using a Temporary Event Notice, particularly during the outdoor hospitality Covid-19 restriction period during April and May, which may provide a quicker short-term solution.”