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Shepherd Neame has spearheaded a successful campaign to counter a proposed Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) being imposed on pubs in Deal, Kent.
Deal Town Council has rejected a proposal from its planning committee to ask the licensing authorities in Dover to force pubs in the seaside down to shut at 11.45pm on weekdays and 12.45am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Speaking a meeting to consider the plan, Andy Davidson, Shepherd Neame’s tenanted business development manager for the area, told councillors that there was no case for implementing an EMRO in Deal.
Speaking after the meeting Davidson said: “The council had not consulted with local businesses, including Shepherd Neame as the owner of three pubs that would have been covered by the EMRO. In addition, they were proposing to make the application to Dover District Council without giving any reason or offering any supporting evidence as to why they believe an EMRO is needed.”
Davidson also pointed out that the proposed 11.45pm closing time would not comply with the law. Under the amendments to the Licensing Act introduced this year, EMROs can only operate between midnight and 6am.
Shepherd Neame managed pub the Royal Hotel, as well as leased businesses the King’s Head and the Clarendon Hotel, would all have been affected. Davidson added: “Our pubs, along with the vast majority of licensed businesses in Deal, are run professionally and cause no problems.
“Many licensees from the town spoke at the meeting, and as the only multiple pub operator represented, it was important that Shepherd Neame was there support their case.” The proposal from the planning committee was rejected by nine votes to three.
Graham Stiles, licensee of the King’s Head for 32 years, said: “Andy Davidson’s support at the council meeting was excellent, and played an essential part in getting the EMRO plan voted down.
“The proposal would have had a serious impact on the trade of many well-run pubs in the town, who have and continue to operate responsibly, in accordance with their Premises Licences. Andy’s presentation made it clear that the proposal had not been properly considered or consulted on.”
George Barnes, Shepherd Neame's property and tenanted trade director, said: “We work very closely with the licensing authorities and take our responsibilities seriously. In this case, licensees at the helm of well-run businesses would have been seriously impacted by a poorly thought out and disproportionate proposal.
“Dealing with the bureaucracy of licensing regulation can be a challenge for individual licensees, which is why professional advice is an important part of the support we offer our licensees.”