FRUSTRATED residents voted unanimously in favour of a restriction zone on pubs, bars and night clubs at a public meeting last night (April 12).
South Woodford and Woodford Green locals voiced their anger at a meeting at Sir James Hawkey Hall, Woodford Green, by backing council proposals to prevent pubs and bars extending opening hours.
However, the Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ) – which will also stop new pubs from setting up – could take up until December to implement, longer if lawyers ask the council to gather more evidence.
“The issue now is timing,” said Cllr Richard Hoskins, of Church End ward.
“We will get a flood of applications trying to beat the zone to set up bars in time for the Olympics so we should work with the council to move fast on this.”
Around 40 people attended the meeting to give evidence to council and police representatives including Alan Drake, head of community protection, Cllr Ruth Clarke, chairman of the licensing committee, and Chief Inspector Bill Brame.
Janet Shay, 73, who lives next to Funky Mojoes night club in High Road, South Woodford, said: “We are living in a fortress.
”People come out making a racket at 2am, 3am on the weekend and they go to the toilet up the walls of our houses.”
The council will consider short-term measures to prevent anti-social behaviour before the CIZ is introduced.
These will include temporary 24 hour closures of premises and fines for disorder if someone is misbehaving.
Although the Pub Watch was not present last night, bar workers defended their trade before the meeting.
Inga Filipaviciute, supervisor at the Lizard Lounge, George Lane, said: “I can understand people being angry about noise late at night.
"But it’s a balance between addressing these things and running a business.”
Reverend Annie McTighe, of St Mary’s Church, High Road, South Woodford, said night clubs are not the main issue.
“I’ve seen a lot of responsible behaviour from Funky Mojoes customers and the bouncers are respectful of the local area.
“The problem is off licences which sell booze people can go and drink anywhere – they have none of the regulations that bars must adhere to.”