Alcohol Warzones in Peterborough – Council Blamed

08:18 Tuesday 12th July 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Residents up in arms in Cromwell Road and that area, they’re using legal powers to try and reduce the opening hours of a restaurant around that area. South Central East Residents Association’s put in an application to Peterborough City Council calling for a premises licence review of Marisqueira Restaurant in Cromwell Road. It’s the first time that a group of residents has requested a review of a premises licence in Peterborough. So a first for Peterborough. Here. residents tell us what it’s like to live in that area.
PUBLIC ONE: Some of the problems being the antisocial behaviour, the fighting, the rowdiness. About two weeks ago, it was around nine o’clock, a massive fight took place outside here.
PUBLIC TWO: We like to be .. we are a peaceful society here. We like to do things peacefully. Nobody wants to take things into their own hands. But now I think it’s time for this to stop.
PUBLIC THREE: It shouldn’t have come to this really. We believe it’s a problem that the City Council has created, by not actually investigating the licence before they issued it. So if they’d looked into the location of the premises, and them applying to open until three in the morning, they would have clearly seen that it’s not viable.
PAUL STAINTON: But Joaquim Mendes, licence holder for the Marisqueira Restaurant, says he’s doing everything he can to keep the noise down. (TAPE)
JOAQUIM MENDEZ: What I’m trying to do is to keep the business running without disturbing the neighbours. That’s it. And about hours, I’m not worried, because normally I close at eleven o’clock, at eleven twelve o’clock. Then about the complaints. Yeah, I’m not sure if it’s true or not. I wasn’t here. But I trust the people that complained. And I’m trying to improve the business, to finish the hours, to make sure that the noise it’s not so loud. Close the doors, the windows. Try to do the best that I can. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. And that’s the owner, Joaquim Mendez of Marisqueira. Let.s speak to local councillor Mohammed Jamil. Good morning Mohammed.
MOHAMMED JAMIL: Good morning.
PAUL STAINTON: We heard earlier from one resident, who’s part of this residents association, saying it was a bit like a war zone down there, impossible to get sleep, impossible to live. Four places with late licences. What’s your experience?
MOHAMMED JAMIL: Certainly from the surgeries I’ve held, knocking doors, in and around that area, I would certainly echo that. The problem seems to be that in such a small area, there seem to be one two three four establishments that have got licences to sell alcohol. Plus they’re also on the border of the city centre, which means that all the traffic that goes in and past the city centre towards some of the parts of the city like Ravensthorpe, pass through this area. So their lives have become hell, basically, if you listen to some of them. And it’s time something is done about it.
PAUL STAINTON: Why so many late licences in what is essentially an area where people have got their families, and houses, residential?
MOHAMMED JAMIL: This is something that the Council really, the licensing officers, have to answer. For example, this gentleman that you interviewed, Mr Mendez, whilst not having .. he’s doing his best. But the problem is he runs a restaurant which is smack bang in the middle of a residential area. However, he has a licence until three in the morning. Now, I find that quite remarkable, that one has been issued. And having gone into the history of this, I believe it was issued by the Magistrates Court a few years ago. And this licencee has just come across that. Now he tried opening late, and it did cause anti-social behaviour. Now he is trying to make things better. But the problem is the residents are now at a stage where they’re saying enough is enough. We don’t want this. A similar licence we led a campaign against last year. Another shop wanted to open an off-licence, but with the help of the residents, this particular residents group, we managed to stop a licence being issued. Because quite frankly that area of town is just becoming a nightmare to go to. It used to be just weekends, but it’s now Monday Tuesday Wednedsay, it doesn’t matter anymore, simply because of the fact that there are so many off-licences within such a small area.
PAUL STAINTON: A vibrant nightlife, but in the wrong blinking place.
MOHAMMED JAMIL: Yes. They are literally on thw wrong side of Lincoln Road. Whilst we think we need a nightlife, where there are businesses, there are taxi drivers who need to rely on that business, but I think there has to be a balance. And that’s where schemes such as what these residents associations are doing are excellent. Because we can now go to Licensing Panel and say look, can you review this licence. These are the problems that we’ve had. And I just think the fact that it’s a first speaks volumes of the problems that these residents have faced.
PAUL STAINTON: Have the licensing authorities, up until now, not taken proper account of residents’ concerns, not thought about the residents first?
MOHAMMED JAMIL: I think part of the problem has always been that, as councillors, unless people come to us and tell us we have these problems ..
PAUL STAINTON: Common sense though, isn’t it Mohammed, isn’t it?
MOHAMMED JAMIL: It’s difficult, because ..
PAUL STAINTON: You all live there. You can see it’s a residential road, you’ve got houses, children and families. You’re on the Licensing Panel. It’s common sense, isn’t it?
MOHAMMED JAMIL: I would like to think so. But however, it’s only one of a few factors that they have to consider. Now some would blame the previous Government, whom I’m a member of.
PAUL STAINTON: We’ve got something else to add to the list, have we Mohammed?
MOHAMMED JAMIL: I’m afraid so.
MOHAMMED JAMIL: It’s something that they introduced, longer licences, and I feel that it’s an experiment that didn’t work, and it needs looking at again.
PAUL STAINTON: OK. Well we hope this gets resolved in everybody’s interests. Because there’s a bloke trying to run a business as well in the middle of all this .
MOHAMMED JAMIL: Yes exactly. And if you listen to the residents, they fully respect that, and that place has existed ..
PAUL STAINTON: We just need to find some middle ground don’t we?
MOHAMMED JAMIL: It’s drawing that balance.
PAUL STAINTON: Exactly. Mohammed, thank you for coming on this morning, and I hope life improves for you, and for everybody down there, come August, which is when it’ll all be sorted out. A City Council spokesman said, “As the premises licence is under review, it’s inappropriate for us to comment at this moment. Residents, businesses and responsible authorities now have until Tuesday 2nd August to make representations.” Let’s hope they can all come together.


Peterborough City Council Licensing Committee

Members of this committee

* Sue Allen (Conservative)
* Chris Ash (Liberal)
* Fran Benton (Conservative)
* Ray Dobbs (Conservative)
* Nazim Khan (Labour)
* Pam Kreling (Conservative)
* Adrian Miners (Liberal)
* John Peach (Conservative)
* Bella Saltmarsh (Liberal)
* Charles W Swift (Peterborough Independents)
* Marion Todd (Conservative)
* George Simons (Conservative)
* John Shearman (Labour)