Quake pressure sees hotel punished

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 25/12/2012
embankment std

PENALISED: The Embankment will now have to stop serving alcohol at 2am.

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A late-night Christchurch tavern has been ordered to close two hours earlier after the Liquor Licensing Authority found evidence of ''serious alcohol abuse'' at the premises.

The Embankment in Ferry Rd will now have to stop serving alcohol at 2am and implement a one-way-door policy, where people can remain in the premises but new patrons cannot enter, from 12.30am.

The bar previously closed at 4am, with a one-way-door policy from 3am.

Twenty-five police allegations of breaches of the Liquor Act went before the authority at a hearing on November 28-29, where it also considered an application for liquor licence renewal by the pub's owner, Mantell Investments.

The allegations included intoxicated people being on the premises, disorder, a patron taken to hospital with an injured nose and a ''disaster'' where a patron was found in the toilets at 5.30am, well after the bar had closed.

Fourteen of the 25 allegations were found to be proved.

The LLA decision said The Embankment had been owned by the licensee since 2006 and, until the September 2010 earthquake, was operated ''reasonably satisfactorily''.

''They are situated in a lower socio-economic area of Christchurch and for that reason have always attracted a 'rough' element of patrons.''

After the earthquake, however, it attracted a much larger number of patrons, which made it difficult to manage, the LLA said.

''The new patrons comprised various groups of persons who normally would not socialise with each other. Inevitably, tensions arose.''

Police withdrew its opposition to a renewed liquor licence in August 2011 on the agreement improvements would be made, but ''this did not happen to the satisfaction of police''.

The LLA took into account that things had improved in the past six months because of the clientele having ''stabilised''.

''The disparate groups which descended upon the premises after the earthquakes have now, no doubt, found their own particular places to socialise and accordingly conflicts between the various groups are no longer occurring.''

However, the LLA said 14 statutory breaches over a period of about 17 months was "inexcusable".

The LLA granted The Embankment a renewed licence, but with a closing time of 2am and a 12.30am one-way-door policy.

It suspended its licence for six days from 7am on January 7.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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