As mentioned in one of our previous blogs, the pub industry in the UK is currently going through tough times, facing huge financial strain, which leads to the acceleration of pub closures and huge job losses. Previously, many have argued that this is mainly due to the increase in beer tax. However we think there may be another factor that is added for this to cause.
Following the Licensing Committee Meeting on Thursday 8 September, it was reported on the following day that, Handsworth Junior Sporting Club, off Oliver’s Mount in Sheffield has been granted a licence to serve alcohol at its commercial property’s bar despite objections from the local community.
A large number of nearby residents opposed the idea of this commercial property being used for alcohol drinking purpose, as they had concerns over the extra traffic, noise and nuisance that may be caused by people attending the bar.
Karoline Mellors, a 36 year old local resident said, “We have had considerable problems with traffic already. They speed up and down the road. This will make it worse and we don’t want that.” She further added, “There are many young children and elderly people on the street and it is very dangerous. The fact they are opening until 2am will bring people here late at night”.
The football club gives two reasons to why they had applied for the licence. One was in order to raise money to cover the costs of running the commercial property. The club’s management also said “The main aim of this proposal was for people to be able to drink while watching matches in the daytime.”
With these two main reasons given being so dissimilar to each other, one has to question, whether the club is more concerned about the survival of ‘the commercial property’ itself rather than providing leisure time for ‘people’.
The local councillors, Harry Harpham, Mazher Iqbal and Mary Lea share the same view on this as many of the residents, who have written a joint letter to the Licensing Committee. They wrote, “The sports club is solely, in our view, for the sporting development of our young people. Any additional use would detract from this and would not be in keeping with what the original funders intended.”
This proposition may be beneficial to this commercial property itself, however the question raised here is, ‘could this cause any negative impacts on the pub and leisure industry as a whole?’ If there more other types of commercial properties start serving alcohol, this will potentially mean the decrease in demand for pubs, whilst supply keeps increasing. Therefore, could this be one of the factors that contribute to the decline of the pub industry?