Spin-off nuisance from anti-smoking laws

Noise from drinkers who pop outside from pubs, clubs and restaurant for a quick smoke is causing problems for nearby residents, councillors have been told.

Noise from drinkers who pop outside from pubs, clubs and restaurant for a quick smoke is causing problems for nearby residents, councillors have been told.

But the question of whose responsibility it is to tackle the spin-off problem from the smoking bang is also being shrouded in a haze.

Disturbances outside an un-named Cromer town centre pub were highlighted by a member of North Norfolk District Council's licensing committee.

But Richard Price said a landlord had told him that once the customers had left the premises they were someone else's responsibility.

He felt the committee needed to have a policy on the matter, and as a former licensee himself, said landlords should be thinking about their neighbours and trying to calm down situations.

Licensing officer Tony Gent said activities in the grounds came under the council's control, but people on the pavement were a matter for the police.

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People often spoke loudly after they had been in a pub, particularly if there was music inside. But while a weekend patrol after midnight by officials showed North Walsham and Fakenham were “lively”, Hot and Sheringham were dead, and Cromer was the deadest.

Environmental health manager Chris Cawley said there was a relatively small number of venues where there was a problem. Officers carried out visits to try to get co-operation, and were in liaison with police and proprietors in a bid to educate patrons.

The only real sanction the council had, as a licensing authority with control over events on the premises, was to cut down operating hours if someone complained and call for a review of the licence.

The council was doing what it could by raising awareness, seeking to influence the police who were a “key player” in tackling the problem, and asking residents or businesses affected to seek reviews of licences at any problem premises.

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