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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 14:06 GMT
Sixty 24-hour licences for Wales
The Spread Eagle in Carmarthen

Only 60 premises across Wales have been granted 24-hour licences under the change in the law and most of them are supermarkets, BBC research suggests.

Licensing authorities in Wales granted extensions to almost 5,000 applicants, a survey for BBC News 24 has found.

Of the 60 24-hour licences, only 14 have been granted to pubs and clubs - most are to supermarkets.

New licensing laws allowing drink to be sold all day in England and Wales come into force at midnight on Wednesday.

Carmarthenshire will have the most - with four bars able to open round- the-clock.

BBC News contacted 375 licensing authorities in England and Wales for the research, but only 301 authorities responded.

In Wales, the authorities who responded to the survey said:

  • There have been 4,970 extensions to licences granted.

  • Sixty 24-hour licences have been granted and of those 14 are going to pubs and clubs. In Cardiff, only a casino has been granted a 24-hour licence while in Wrexham another has gone to a nightclub.

    In Swansea and Newport, no 24-hour applications have been successful while four pubs and clubs in Carmarthenshire have been given permission to offer alcohol all day long.

    Drunk woman sitting on an English street
    Ministers fear more drink-related disorder and other problems

    Two of them - the Spread Eagle and the Metro Club - are in the same street in Carmarthen but businesses say they are relaxed about the situation.

    "There should not be a problem," said shopkeeper David Taylor. "I have got a security system and shutters which will hopefully take care of that."

    In all, results sent in by most of the authorities indicate that about a third of all the pubs, clubs and shops in Wales and England licensed to sell alcohol have been granted extensions to their opening hours.

    According to the BBC research, around one-third of all the pubs, clubs and shops in England and Wales licensed to sell alcohol are to get longer opening hours.

    Licensing Minister James Purnell said the new laws would be coupled with the "toughest ever crackdown on alcohol fuelled violence".

    Anti-social behaviour

    A rise in the number of arrests could be a measure of the success of powers in the Licensing Act, he said.

    But Llandudno landlord Marcus Farrington, who wants to stay open for an hour later each night, said the government's vision of a continental café culture was way off the mark.

    "The reality of it in many city centres on weekends is that its not like that," said Mr Farrington.

    "It is large groups of probably quite drunk people moving around and exhibiting a certain amount of anti social behaviour."

    Watch the two sides of the 24-hour drinking debate

    Late drinking spells last orders
    23 Nov 05 |  North East Wales


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