Cordoned-Off Queueing Proposal for St Helens Bars

A senior councillor is urging licensing chiefs to consider imposing Post Office-style queuing systems in town centres bars.

The proposal – already being trialled in Oldham – is part of a series of measures aimed at reducing binge drinking.

Revellers at town centre bars with drinks promotions would be made to queue at the bar at cordoned barriers.

A series of other measures including banning individual punters from buying more than two drinks per visit to the bar and forcing bars to employ extra door staff could also be introduced.

Councillor Carole Kavanagh, St Helens Council's executive member for environmental protection, was told about the scheme by her counterpart at the Lancashire town's council, Coun Mark Alcock.

All 22 town centre bars in Oldham have been told they must abide by strict new measures including paying for two additional police officers to patrol nearby. Bars who refused to comply have been told they will have their licence reviewed.

Coun Kavanagh said: "I think anything that works, anything that would try to curb drinks promotions would be a good thing.

"It will be interesting to see how it plays out. The licensing officers and the chair of licensing are aware of it but because it is such a new thing no one is sure whether is could face a legal challenge.

"It's not my place as a member of licensing to consider it, it would be the lead officer. I can only see if we are looking at it.

"I would certainly look to see how they (Oldham Council) get on with it. I would hope they look at it and see if it is working.

"Binge drinking is a problem and the drink promotions play a part in that problem, but I think the biggest problem is the cheap alcohol on sale in supermarkets, and that is something only the government can tackle, not the council."

She has passed details of the Oldham model to Coun Nancy Ashcroft, chair of the council's licensing committee, as well as licensing officials.

A council spokeswoman said: "The Licensing Authority may only include conditions on an individual premises licence following the making of relevant representations by a responsible authority such as the police or by an interested party.

"It cannot impose blanket conditions. Any conditions imposed must be necessary and proportionate for promoting the four statutory licensing objectives.

"At the present time, no responsible authority has requested that this condition be considered in any application.

"Consequently, it is not currently under consideration."

Website Names and Shames Eight St Helens Food Businesses for Scoring Zero Stars

This post is based on an article in The St Helens Star from 18/09/10. All information provided was correct at the time. Since then many businesses have been re-assessed, especially those that scored poorly on the last round of visits.

A reader has pointed out that the Tai Shan buffet has now been rated as 2 Stars and this is listed on the Scores on the Doors website, along with what each of the ratings constitute

* * * * * (5 star) Excellent
* * * * (4 star) Very good
* * * (3 star) Good
* * (2 star) Fair
* (1 star) Poor
(0 stars) Major improvement needed

Tai Shan is now rated as FAIR as opposed to MAJOR IMPROVEMENT NEEDED.

Approx 650 busineeses in The Metropolitan Borough of St Helens are listed under this scheme. Currently (August 2010) 9 are rated as zero stars and 41 have gained one star. So that means that the management systems, staff training and general cleanliness levels in businesses rated as 2 star are better than those 50 who gained zero or one star.

Here is the article "lifted" from The St Helens Star

Eight businesses have been named and shamed on a website listing council environmental health ratings for takeaways, kitchens and restaurants that serve food to the St Helens public.

The Scores on the Doors website reveals that watchdogs from St Helens Council, checking hygiene standards, gave zero stars to eight out of 642 businesses following inspections.

Those named on

With the worst ratings are Café Carlos and Speedy Gonzales on Westfield Street, Continental Pizza and Crumpets, both on Market Street in Newton-le-Willows.

Also given zero marks are La Vita on George Street, St Helens, Saffron on Tamworth Street, Tai Shan Buffet (please see additional information above) and a business on Church Street that is disputing whether it served food at the time of the inspection.

Inspectors criticised those with no stars for their poor hygiene and stated that they had no confidence in the management to implement a satisfactory food safety system.

All food premises across the town are assessed to see if they are operating within the law and are given a score, which determines the next date of inspection. These vary between six months and up to three years.

Scores given are listed on the website and include public organisations with kitchens such as schools and hospitals. Rankings range from zero to five stars and there are many St Helens businesses and organisations that have achieved top notch marks.

Although there is no legal requirement to publish the scores, councils across the country participating in the scheme believe that there is strong public demand for this information to be made available.

A statement issued by St Helens Council said: “No stars determine that major improvements are needed and no certificates will be awarded.

“The business will be fully supported and guided by the environmental health officers in order to improve their standards.”