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St Helens town centre bars scrap 2am closure pilot
Updated 1:36pm Friday 24th January 2014 in News
ST HELENS bars will resume their normal opening patterns this weekend after a month-long pilot scheme that trialled 2am closures was cut short.
Licensees on the pubwatch committee met earlier this week and decided that earlier closures was not working.
Bars had collectively agreed to explore the effects of 2am closures after encouragement from the police last year.
The trial centred on getting people “to go out earlier”.
But it is understood bars, taxi firms and takeaways had mounting concerns about the system once it was in place.
Since the relaxation of licensing laws in 2005, bars have been able to open beyond what was the traditional drinking up time of 11pm for pubs or 2am for nightclubs.
A number of bars in the town centre normally open until 3am at weekends and some use temporary event notices until 5am.
But it is believed bars feared reverting to 2am was making St Helens less attractive to younger customers who are used to starting their nights out late, resulting in them heading to the cities or neighbouring towns.
Dex Nelson, a DJ who has worked on the St Helens nightlife scene for decades, said: “For some the night was just getting going between 1am and 1.30am and then it was nearly closing time.
“I personally don’t see the need for bars to be open until 6am but 2am was too soon.”
Chief Inspector Martin Woosey said: “The licensees have the made the decision – at the end of the day it was their initiative. It will be back to normal from now on.
“It is disappointing (that it has stopped early) and would have been nice to run the full course but I can understand that it is a business issue.
“Town did seem to clear a lot quicker on each of the nights (when there was a 2am) closure.”
In December officers rejected suggestions they had pushed for earlier closure times to try and quell incidents of violence or disorder that run through the early hours.
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