Letters; Eddie Gershon, May 1, 2015

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We would like to take the opportunity to respond to an article in the Lynn News (Friday April 17) headlined ‘Publicans join forces to fight Wetherspoon plans.’

The article outlined the fact that publicans in Downham are campaigning against plans to open a Wetherspoon pub in the town over fears that it could increase anti-social behaviour.

It quotes one manager as saying that “with Wetherspoon coming with early licensing hours and cheap booze, it is a recipe for disaster.”

Whilst we respect the views of licensees in the town, we believe the comments are pure scaremongering and not based on any facts. On the contrary, Wetherspoon has excellently run pubs, a number of which are in Norfolk.

Our pubs are members of Pubwatch and the company has also been responsible for setting up a number of Pubwatches in towns where they previously did not exist.

Your readers might be interested to know that Wetherspoon pubs across the UK have won numerous Best Bar None awards, which are aimed at highlighting pubs which are run responsibly and with great attention to the safety of staff and customers.

The manager quoted talks of “cheap booze.” That is an inflammatory statement.

Wetherspoon pubs are very competitively priced and serve an excellent range of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, but these are served in a responsible manner by our staff.

The manager also claims that early licensing hours at the pub will cause problems.

On the contrary, Wetherspoon pubs across the UK open from 7am or 8am in order to serve breakfast.

Whilst our pubs are licensed, the reality is that alcohol sales in the morning account for a minute figure and the vast majority of drink sales in the morning are for coffee, juices, soft drinks and hot drinks.

There is no evidence whatsoever from our existing 940 pubs that any problems have been caused by the few people who wish to enjoy an alcoholic drink in the morning.

We emphasise that we are keen to open a pub in the town and believe it will be welcome by people in Downham, however, we await the outcome of the planning decision.

Eddie Gershon,

JD Wetherspoon plc