Pubs face two day closure in new order

PHOTO NEIL CROSS         Peter Verhaege ( PLEASE CHECK) in the alleyway where he was attacked
PHOTO NEIL CROSS Peter Verhaege ( PLEASE CHECK) in the alleyway where he was attacked

Planned new powers to crackdown on problem venues have been slammed as unnecessary red tape by a Chorley pub and club boss.

Police could be allowed to close troublespots for up to two days under new proposals announced by the Government.

But Peter Verhaege, manager of Applejax nightclub in Chorley and chairman of Chorley Pubwatch, said there was enough legislation already in place to deal with the issue.

He said: “It’s not really needed. At the end of the day the Government and the police have sufficient powers to close venues.

“I don’t think more legislation is needed personally.”

The battery of 19 different powers including Asbos, developed by Tony Blair’s Labour government to tackle anti-social behaviour, are to be replaced by five orders containing similar powers.

One of these, the new Community Protection Order, would allow police or a local authority to temporarily close any property for up to 48 hours.

Malcolm Ireland, head of licensing and leisure at Lancashire law firm Napthens solicitors, which has offices in Chorley, claims members of the licensed trade had expressed concerns at such a move, which would see problem pubs and clubs treated under the same order as drug dens and brothels.

He said: “The trade welcomes any move which will make it easier and safer for the public to enjoy their time at nightspots.

“However, there is a feeling among some that this is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, with licensed premises being treated the same as drug dens, after the various closure orders which currently exist are brought into one new Community Protection Order. This means that the existing 24-hour closure period permitted by a Closure Order under the Licensing Act would be doubled to 48 hours, although such an order would need a senior police officer to approve it.”

Mr Verhaege said: “I work very closely with Malcolm with Pubwatch.

“Any more legislation is just going to be unnecessary really and I don’t think it will improve matters.

“I think most of the landlords take their jobs very seriously.

“They have enough legislation to deal with the job anyway.”