More round for your pound: UK’s first Pound Pub slammed for creating ‘staggering morning drunks’

An Atherton pub has received plenty of booze from local residents by offering alcoholic drinks for just £1 in the UK’s first Pound Pub.

Publican Dave Sutton has jumped on the Pound Shop bandwagon sweeping the British high streets and is using the model of the budget retail stores to serve cheap drinks to regulars.

Halves of beer are £1 each but those who buy a pint of Fosters, Theakstons, Strongbow or John Smiths will be charged £1.50 a time under the slogan ‘more round for your pound’.

But Mr Sutton’s pub in Wigan, Greater Manchester, which has its own orange and white ‘Pound Pub’ logo, has sparked fury amongst local business owners.

They claim it is catering for drunks who are ‘staggering around the streets’ before lunchtime as the pub opens at 9am each day.

The bar is the first chosen as a trial spot for the Pound Pubs across the UK.

Mr Sutton, 31, has insisted anybody who looks too drunk is not served and said: “At the end of the day, if you can only drink ten pints at £3, you are still only going to be able to drink that if they’re £1.50.

“We don’t encourage people to get drunk and there’s been no more trouble. In fact the pub is already going very well and the customers seem to be happy.

“The other pubs in the town are not so happy but that’s not our fault. That’s just because throughout the day we have the majority of customers in the town in here.

“Pubs around the country are shutting all the time so something has to be done and this could be it.”

Mr Sutton said the clientele is mainly ‘older gentlemen’ drinking through the day, with some arriving at 9am to take advantage of the early opening time.

He said the pub was only met with one objection when its application for an extension to its alcohol licence was put forward last year.

A regular of the pub said: “People were expecting the street to be full of drunks but it’s not because even though the beer is cheap it’s still just passing trade.

“If people get out of hand they get kicked out – it’s like any other pub, only cheaper.”

Retired restaurant and factory worker Keith Emmott, 63, has been frequenting the pub since 1963 when he recalls a pint being 11p.

He added: “It’s always been a good pub and it still is, especially now it’s cheaper. They have a good landlord now who’s very caring because when I fall asleep he always wakes me up and that goes a long way.”

But the premises, which is next-door to a bookmakers and opposite a charity shop, has caused uproar with locals complaining it is bringing the town into disrepute.

Sales Executive Adam Parkinson, 49, from Atherton, who is a regular in the Last Orders Inn just metres away said: “We don’t want the £1 pub around here.

“There are already enough pound shops and they’re rubbish too. All this bar is doing is selling cheap alcohol early in the morning to vulnerable people.

“It’s £3 a pint in here and I pay the extra because it’s civilised and not full of vulnerable people. What we need is a shoe shop and a decent place to buy clothes. What we have are pound shops and a pound bakery and now a pound pub. What’s next? A pound brothel?

“You’ll be able to get drunk, get laid and get a belly full of food for a fiver. What’s the country coming to? No-one would have fought for this country in World War Two if they knew it would end up like this.”

Pub landlady Mary Bates who runs the nearby Jolly Nailor pub said the venue had many morning drinkers.

“At least it keeps all the riff raff in one place,” Mrs Bates, 44, said.

“We are happy because it takes all the bad people out. Every town should have a pound pub because it attracts all the ne’er-do-wells.

“For alcoholics it’s not good because it’s open so early. They need to open at 9am because people want a pint – because they are an alcoholic. It used to be a cracking pub but it’s been going down and down.

“Now we’re seeing drunken people in the afternoon when kids are coming home from school. It’s also attracting people from other towns because it’s cheap. We don’t want the type of people drinking there in here.”

A 69-year-old woman born and bred in Atherton said: “I don’t like that sign. And it’s £1.50 a pint, not £1.

“The sign looks like that other place that has cheap pies. It’s a lovely old building and now it has that horrible sign.”

Wigan Council’s Director of Public Health, Professor Kate Ardern, said:  “Alcohol used to be a luxury, but it is now widely available and often sold at pocket money prices. Research has proved that the cheaper alcohol is, the more people drink.

“Selling a pint for £1.50 means that a man can drink his total daily limit for just £3.

“Any promotion which potentially increases the supply of cheap alcohol and which appears to target those on limited incomes, especially young adults, who are cost-conscious, is highly irresponsible – particularly in a borough like Wigan which has high rates of alcohol harm.”

Wigan Council Assistant Director of Regulation Services, Alan Blundell, said: “All licensed premises must make sure they take action to ensure they comply with the licensing objectives, which include the prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance and the promotion of public safety.

“On receipt of all new licence applications, we ensure that there are suitable conditions attached to the licence to ensure they are able to meet these objectives. We often liaise with the applicant and agree for further conditions to be added.”

Story via Cavendish Press

Image courtesy of Pound Pub, with thanks

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