Restaurant in the Ridings has alcohol licence extended

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A new restaurant in the Ridings Shopping Centre has been given permission to serve alcohol for longer after Wakefield Council concluded it was unlikely to cause anti-social behaviour.

The Keg and Kitchen, which opened in December, will be allowed to sell booze between 10am and 11pm every day of the week when a new five-screen cinema opens at the centre later this year.

It currently opens between 10am and 6pm Mondays and Saturdays and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.

Two councillors, Olivia Rowley and Ros Lund, had objected to the idea on the grounds the late closing time may result in petty crime in and around the Ridings.

But neither was able to attend a licensing hearing on Tuesday, where a committee ruled that their fears were “not supported by any evidence”.

Representing the applicants, solicitor Piers Warne said: “Anti-social behaviour is negligible – it’s pretty much non-existent at the centre, it has to be said.

“When the shops close, they all have shutters which come down, so it’s like going down a high street after everything’s closed.

“Four security officers will be on duty late into the night once the cinema, which will close around midnight, opens in May.”

Mr Warne said that although alcohol accounts for just five per cent of the Keg and Kitchen’s sales, the cinema operator’s interest in the Ridings was reliant on a “good food and beverage offer”.

He added: “It’s a very difficult time for retail and for shopping centres in particular.

“We have to acknowledge that retail needs a helping hand from its leisure offer.

“It’s no longer enough, I’m afraid, to rely on traditional anchor stores to keep everything going.

“This is a significant part of the leisure the Ridings is looking to offer”.

The Keg and Kitchen had wanted to start serving alcohol at 9am each day, but this was rejected by the councillors, who felt it would be unnecessary. Mr Warne replied: “There’s no real pressing need for the extra hour, but we just thought it would be nice for people who are on holiday to come in and have a glass of Prosecco before they start shopping. But that’s not key to the application.”