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Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
Drink licence for teetotal street
The street has been an alcohol free zone since 1890
A south Wales street is to taste its first drop of alcohol for more than 100 years.

Maesteg's Talbot Street, believed to be the only teetotal high street in Britain, has been free of drink since it was built in 1890.

Wealthy Victorian spinster Olive Talbot donated the land for the road on the condition that no alcohol should be sold there.

The rule has been followed for generations, but now a court has decided that an Indian restaurant will be permitted to serve alcohol when it opens on the street later this year.


The traditions should be respected. There is enough trouble around here without any more boozers

Hugh Jones, Maesteg shopkeeper

Olive Talbot, who died in 1894, was the daughter of millionaire iron and docks tycoon CRM Talbot - the town of Port Talbot was named after her family, who also built Margam Castle in the 1830s.

A devout Christian, Miss Talbot was known for her financial help in building hospitals and restoring churches across the south Wales Valleys.

But the no-drinks rule on Talbot Street has divided the 22,000 residents of Maesteg.

Hugh Jones, who owns a fruit and veg shop on the street, said he thought the court's decision ignored the town's unique custom.

"There are enough pubs around," he said.

"The traditions should be respected. There is enough trouble around here without any more boozers."

But others, such as shop worker Julie Jones, have welcomed the move.

Olive Talbot
Olive Talbot was a devout Christian

"As long as it closes at a reasonable time then I don't see a problem. People always leave town for nights out," she said.

"Hopefully a new licensed restaurant will bring some much needed trade to the town."

The Akash Restaurant has been granted a provisional licence which will be confirmed when the premises are ready for opening.

The restaurant's first licence application was adjourned by Bridgend Magistrates after a local councillor pointed out Miss Talbot's restriction.

History

Councillor Bill Evans, who led objections at the court, said: "This street used to be unique but now that has finished. It has been free of pubs and licensed premises for a century and we wanted it to stay that way," he said.

"This was part of our history but now that has been taken away. A lot of people will be very disappointed."

After a second hearing, where restaurant owner Raul Choudoury argued that times had changed since the late nineteenth century, a licence was granted.

"We hope it will be very popular with the people of the town," he said.


Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

30 Jan 01 | Wales
02 Jul 01 | Wales
19 Feb 02 | Wales
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