Security at The Ridings Shopping Centre to be stepped up when cinema opens
Managers at the Ridings Shopping Centre have insisted security will be stepped up at the venue when its opening hours are extended late into the night.
It comes after concerns were raised by two local councillors about the prospect of anti-social behaviour in the surrounding area, when it closes later to accommodate a new cinema from May.
Labour's Olivia Rowley and Ros Lund, who both represent Wakefield East, have both objected to the Keg and Kitchen restaurant's plans to serve alcohol for longer.
The diner, which opened in the Ridings before Christmas, has asked for permission to sell booze between 9am and 11pm for seven days a week.
At the moment, it has a licence to serve alcohol from 10am to 6pm between Monday and Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.
Permission will either be granted or rejected at a licensing hearing on Tuesday.
But in her comments on the application, Coun Rowley said she was also concerned about the impact the cinema's opening would have.
She wrote: "Hasn't this got a much wider aspect to it than just altering the hours in which it is opened? The establishment is within a large shopping mall, above which people live.
"There are already issues with behaviour in Kirkgate and the worry is that without adequate supervision the situation will only worsen.
"I know a cinema is being proposed, but I do feel the owners of the Ridings should be telling us how the building will be supervised during the evenings."
Coun Lund added: "If the security aspects of this application are not considered, there is every possibility that anti-social behaviour will become a significant problem."
Alcohol can only be purchased together with a food order from the Keg and Kitchen, and this won't change even if managers are granted an extended alcohol licence.
Customers are also forbidden from taking alcoholic drinks away from the restaurant.
In response to the councillors' comments, Ridings' centre manager Lee Appleton said that both the restaurant and the cinema were aimed at a family audience.
He said: "The Keg & Kitchen offering is focused around food, with most sales of alcohol accompanying meals.
"Since trade began before Christmas, we’ve had no reports of anti-social behaviour and the outlet has been welcomed by the public in that it offers a wide range of food and drink, served in the safe and welcoming environment of the shopping centre.
"The addition of the Reel Cinema, Wakefield will enhance the leisure offering of both the Ridings and the city centre, creating jobs for local people and giving a much-needed boost to a challenged city centre economy. When opening hours are extended, the centre will adapt security and the management of the centre accordingly."