Booze licence row over council meal

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

COUNCIL chiefs have come under fire after it was claimed they should have obtained a licence to serve alcohol at their Christmas party.

About 60 councillors enjoyed a slap-up three course festive meal with wine at County Hall last Tuesday, but Bernie Attridge, chairman of the licensing committee, who did not attend the event, says a temporary events licence was needed.

He said: “I have done my homework and I know that a temporary events licence was required.

“This is very embarrassing for the council when it can’t even adhere to its own policy.

“How can you read the riot act to people who don’t adhere to the policy when the council isn’t even following it?

“If a pub has a licence until 11pm, but they stay open until 6am in the morning then they would be prosecuted because they haven’t got the appropriate licence in place.

“The only way the council would have got away with this is if people brought their own alcohol, but the wine was included in the price of the meal.”

Councillors paid £12 each to cover the cost of the festive event.

But council chiefs insist a licence was not needed as the wine was a gift from the council chairman Owen Thomas.

A Flintshire Council spokesman said: “Sixty people attended the traditional annual chairman's Christmas lunch at County Hall which was held within normal lunchtime hours.

“All guests made a payment for the cost of their lunch only and a limited amount of wine was available to guests as a bona fide gift from the chairman of the council.

“No alcohol was offered for sale at the lunch and therefore a special event licence was not required.

“Many present did not drink any alcohol as they were working in the afternoon once the lunch was over.”

But Cllr Attridge is adamant a licence was required.

He said: “At the end of the day this “bona fide gift” of wine was paid for with the chairman’s allowance and whatever way you dress it up it is paid for by the taxpayer.

“I still firmly stand by the advice I received from a senior licensing officer that a licence was needed.”

See full story in the Leader

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