'Let's get out earlier and support Doncaster pubs' call as readers share views on 11pm closure for pavement tables

Free Press readers shared have their views of the move to restrict the opening of the pubs’ pavement areas to 11pm.

By David Kessen
Monday, 29th March 2021, 4:36 pm
Updated Monday, 29th March 2021, 4:39 pm

While some have pledged to go out earlier and support our pubs, others criticised the move as unfair on hard-hit pubs. But some feel it is a fair compromise.

Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire Police put a joint statement out this week announcing that pavement licences, which allow pubs to put tables and chairs outside their fronts, would end at 11pm each night when pubs re-open, expected to be on April 12.

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Pubs use space on the pavement to serve customers

They had previously been allowed to be there until 3am.

For some town centre bars, the space on the pavements is the only area that they have where they can serve customers outside – and therefore the only space they can open until May 17.

Our readers shared their views of the situation – with some pledging to help pubs by going out earlier.

Michelle Stoton said: “I’m looking forward to going out earlier and getting home at a reasonable time – but understand stress for the industry.”

Simon Fox said: “That's me going out early then.”

And Ian Walker said: “Let's get out and support the pubs to get their profits up.”

Others were critical of the new earlier closing time for the pavement areas.

Sharon Ann Wilkinson said: “I thought that they had done all this work widening the pavements so that the pubs could have outside areas.”

Richard Mangham said he thought the rule was “absolutely ridiculous”.

He said: “People have spent money on alfresco dining areas. These pubs have been open for three months out of the last 12, and those three months under restrictions, some having to make alterations to stay open for those three months, sell food, make outdoor spaces bigger. Surely now the council and SYP (South Yorkshire Police) have to use common sense and let pubs operate as pubs. This is people’s livelihoods at stake.”

Sarah Allwood feared the move would result in more people going to house parties and gatherings after the pubs closed, therefore breaking the law. She said: “Let the pubs stay open as late as everyone else – as long as it’s outside it’s fine!

Another reader, posting under the name Lizzie Lou, said she thought a legal challenge was the only way to change the situation, perhaps a class action or lots of independent actions from various pubs.

And Janice Stowe Burns said: “So wrong. Don't they think pubs have had it hard enough without this?”

Others said that the thought the move was reasonable

Claire Booker said with more buildings in the town centre converting to residential accommodation, she thought it was a fair compromise.

Another reader, posting as D Deebow Carters, said pubs had managed in town for years without outside seating on Hallgate and Silver Street. He said: “The pubs should be grateful they got the new wide pavements done by the council and are even allowed seating and drinking on it at all.”

Tracy Cooper added: “They don’t need to be open all night anyway! People will just go earlier like we did back in the day.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.