As we are now only 5 days from our pubs and restaurants reopening could you as the leading party in the council share the plans in place to support them, keep them socially distanced and safe but able to run a business with our council support but also ensuring there is security in place for our residents? My email of 20 days ago proposing some solutions has still not had a reply which is quite disappointing and unprofessional, but I suppose this is not a business so things are different.
We have seen what is, and will, happen on our beaches and Green and that was with all the pubs closed. We got very lucky last weekend with the rain and poor weather but the councillors running the preparation for the pubs reopening can’t just have a strategy relying on bad weather.
I would propose we need two strategies and we need them in place by at the latest this Friday (3rd) lunch time to give all landlords, agencies and operators time to assess them and agree them and implement them. I assume by now most of this has been done but can you please share it to ensure everyone is on board? One of the Town planning groups the councillors have in place was a week late with the Lytham response for the shops reopening and it was not communicated or worked in tandem with all retailers, but that is now past and due to the scale of this coming Saturday’s reopenings we should be in a better place, I am sure you are, its just not shared as yet.
The two strategies we need are:
1. Ensure pubs and restaurants have the capability and the support to open with social distancing to support businesses.
2. Ensure security and safety levels are in place to protect residents and manage the risk.
My proposals below for Lytham still stand and would help somewhat with strategy 1:
- Queens – has a large outside space and is best placed. Can we look at a controlled, bouncer managed, fenced in area opposite on the Green to enable social spacing in a controlled managed way?
- Taps and Henry Street bars – as proposed before can we TENS for one month from the junction with the Piazza and the front door of the retirement home. Keeps access to the home, allows taxis to turn up to the end of the Piazza and enables the street to be filled with tables, add in the piazza to this to support business there.
- County – enable all the parking spaces outside the county to be closed for cars and used for tables with fencing along the road side.
- Station – close the road outside with a TENS parallel to the two roads making up the horseshoe. This would enable access to all parking places and homes and only stop traffic passing outside the pub. Enables lots of tables and social spacing.
- Ship – does not seem possible to create a space – however could a temp bar be allowed to be set up on the Green, beside the Queens one as we see all over the continent to enable them more outside space and the capability to operate?
- Wetherspoons – no obvious outside space beyond what they have now including their car park. Is an over flow possible on to the fire station concourse a potential discussion or a third fenced area on the Green?
If pubs are supported in opening fenced areas on the Green it would limit litter, coordinate areas for people having a drink, which supports police in moving people into agreed areas, enables temporary bars to be established and works with people instead of against them.
With minimal effort here and 2 small partial road closures impacting almost no traffic flow we can be seen to strongly support the opening of bars and getting people working again? These proposals cost very little, have minimal impact but enable 2 metre spacing to be in place, but customer covers to reach a level to make the business viable. This shows the council has imagination and wants to support business during difficult times but also want to help keep people socially distanced.
St Annes if slightly different with the Lord Derby, The Links, Watersedge, Wetherspoons and the Victoria pub all having plenty of potential outside space, especially if they utilise their car parks which may need some support from us as the council on licensing rules.
The number 10 and number 15 and other smaller bars do not have such options and we should consider larger enclosed pavement areas to support them and also reduce the potential pavement drinking if we don’t.
In Freckleton and Warton the Plough, Clifton and Ship all have outside space they can utilise if as with all others our licensing is softened to enable more outside space within their control to be used.
The “countryside pubs” in stand alone locations all have large car parks and if we allow it this can help them safely open with enough customers to be viable.
Kirkham and Wesham is more difficult as many of the pubs have restricted space outside with little natural areas to be allocated to them, this may required further planning.
I have focused on the pubs here but the same can be applied by the team of councillors to the restaurants. If we don’t support them I fear rules will be broken, social distancing may fail or they simply wont be viable to open and business and jobs will not be supported by us as a council.
For strategy 2, safety and security, we know if the sun shines this will be key. Having security and controls in place are clearly essential and simply putting the pressure on the police and asking them to do more I would suggest is abdicating any leadership and as a team we can do better than that. At a small cost, less than many redundant signs purchased potentially, we could for the first couple of weekends bring in our own security (“bouncers” if you wish) for Lytham, St Annes with three in each and one or two in Kirkham and one in Freckleton/Warton. These can liaise with the police and as they will be qualified they will be able to manage the town centres in a safe and controlled manner. This then shows leadership and that some thought for the local residents has been given as it helps control the opening of bars and the potential impact this may have in a positive supportive way for all.
We would be naïve and out of touch if we think that another warm weekend, with furloughed people and adding in the opening of all pubs wont bring challenges and surely the councillors don’t want to be caught out cold again.
As always happy to help with the planning but we need to have all solutions and strategies in place by this Friday morning to be fair to everyone and to reassure the public in both safe drinking and a safe environment.