Riverside Pub Has Licence Reviewed Due Large Crowds

Waterman's Arms in Barnes must now sell drink in sealed containers

One of images submitted to licensing committee

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A well-loved pub in Barnes will only be allowed to sell alcohol to be drunk off the premises in sealed containers after 8pm, after its license was reviewed.

The council decided to look at the licence due to crowds congregating and causing a disturbance by its riverside location when lockdown restrictions were eased in late May.

The Waterman’s Arms was described by residents as the “Costa del Barnes” due to the amount of people drinking outside during the summer.

Residents originally wanted off-sales of alcohol to be banned completely because of the public nuisance, crime and disorder and risks to public safety.

Ms Sophie Saeed described instances of “cat-calling” and said she had been left very upset, after finding herself “living opposite a beer garden”.

She told Richmond’s licensing sub-committee (September 25): “The comments that I have had this summer have been very unpleasant and the idea of my daughter getting older and having to brace herself to leave the house like I have had to isn’t something that I can allow.”

Another image of crowds outside pub submitted as evidence

Another concerned local resident and mother, Daisy Ayliffe, said her children had walked through puddles of urine left by drinkers in the alleyways.

“One day this summer my little girl came home with vomit on her sandals,” she said.

“In a global pandemic this is completely mad, but this is apparently a madness that is being allowed in Richmond.”

The Waterman's Arms in Barnes
The Waterman's Arms in Barnes

However 11 residents also wrote in favour of the pub keeping its current licence.

Neighbour Charles Campion said, “When it reopened again I thought with a lot of other people actually that it was incredibly enterprising and a great thing for the local community to have the pub open again providing much needed work for their workers.

“What I saw, I had no problems with. Occasionally you’d hear people enjoying themselves but I live right next to it and people were by and large extremely well behaved, I think it provided a great outlet for people from lockdown.”

Sarah Clover, representing the licence holder, said issues relating to people gathering and drinking outside were linked to the sudden release from lockdown, and were not an ongoing issue.

She said, “This situation has been very much Covid and lockdown and post-lockdown related, and that in actual fact the Waterman’s prior to these events, and now on an ongoing basis, is in actual fact a bastion of the local community, very well loved and respected, and an asset, not a detriment to the community.”

She explained any initial issues were quickly resolved.

“When the premises began their takeaway offering, the appreciation of that offer took the premises by surprise, they were not ready for the level of demand that the public had for that offering.

“The minute that became note-worthy or newsworthy in any way, the minute that became apparent the premises swung into action to deal with it by putting in policies and measures that were designed to control that very situation. Not least security, patrols of security to go up and down the river front which is an intervention that persists to this day.

“It was exuberant behaviour, it was unruly behaviour that was tied to this release from lockdown and this immediate uptake of the off-license facility.”

Licence holder Richard Morgan reiterated “it’s never been our intention anytime to upset any local residents.”

He explained that the release from lockdown was “unchartered waters” and that he addressed any issues “very very quickly by getting security involved.”

As part of the new conditions imposed on the Waterman’s Arms license, published on October 2, management will risk assess the need to employ door staff who would be engaged to monitor customers using the riverfront. For example, on Boat Race day and on New Year’s Eve, and there will be a dedicated complaints hotline number with details available on the premises’ website.

An incident log of complaints relating to public nuisance, crime and disorder will be kept and will be be available for inspection upon request by the police or authorised local authority officers.

All parties have a right to appeal within 21 days.

Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter

October 3, 2020


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