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Waterloo campaigner in death threat

Objection to new bar licences blamed and call for rethink on 24-hour drinking laws

Published on October 1st 2009.

Waterloo campaigner in death threat

A VETERAN community activist has received death and arson threats after he objected to drinks licence applications for a busy suburban street.

Despite ill health, Ian Hamilton Fazey, who is in his sixties, is a tireless campaigner on neighbourhood issues and one of the leading lights in the Waterloo Residents Association.

An unintended consequence of Tony Blair's “café society” Licensing Act has been an explosive growth of drinking dens whose prime job is to intoxicate young people and, in some cases, generate enough cash to disguise the laundering of drug money

As such, his is the familiar figure who appears in the local weekly, the Crosby Herald, leading initiatives to combat crime and clean-ups, occasionally objecting to this and that and handy for a quote. Last week he cropped up twice, in separate Herald stories, relating to bar licence applications for South Road, Waterloo.

Earlier this week, Mr Fazey's wife was called by a man falsely purporting to be from United Utilites. She was told the purpose of the call was a check that the water supply was working, and, after the phone was eventually handed to her husband, a former Financial Times journalist, he was told at some length how his home would be torched and he would be killed.

Whether it was an unrelated crank call, a wind-up, a disgruntled would-be bar owner or simply a punter with an unquenchable thirst, one cannot know for sure, but it does strongly coincide, says Mr Fazey, with the resident association's call for Sefton Council to introduce a “cumulative impact policy”, which would allow people to insist that there are too many licensed premises in the South Road area. That system is set to operate in Liverpool.

Objectors, presently, can only put forward arguments about an individual application, but most new bars are subsequently agreed.

Mr Fazey said: “The threat stems from my chairing a group campaigning against the unbridled spread of drinking licences in South Road, Waterloo, our local high street. As in Lark Lane and Allerton Road, Liverpool, an unintended consequence of Tony Blair's “café society” Licensing Act has been an explosive growth of drinking dens whose prime job is to intoxicate young people and, in some cases, generate enough cash to disguise the laundering of drug money.

“Such saturation has added greatly to social disorder and consumed virtually all local police resources on Friday and Saturday nights. In our own case, it has generated fear of crime, and local residents cannot hope to sleep before 2am at weekends because of noise; the next morning, many have to clear up vomit and litter outside their houses and report criminal damage to their cars.”

There are similar tales across the land, but now Mr Fazey thinks enough is enough and it's time for a “radical overhaul of policy” regarding the whole notion of unregulated drinking.

“Gordon Brown has promised to look at 24-hour drinking, but the stable door has been open far too long,” he said. “Our local newspaper shop sells alcohol and, at the weekend, people are coming in at 6.30am to buy it, after being up drinking all night.”

Merseyside Police are on the Fazeys' case.

Meanwhile, has Tony Blair's vision of a continental cafe society failed dismally? Is it time to get rid of 24 hour drinking altogether and go back to calling time 11pm?

Accident and emergency units cannot cope with alcohol related injuries at the weekends, police and paramedics are stretched to the limit, and violent, drink fuelled crime is up. And should ordinary citizens be prepared to be terrorised for speaking out on the matter.

What do you think?

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Big-Hearted ArthurOctober 1st 2009.

The notion of liberalisation of licensing hours to accommodate visiting European tourists so they could at last get a drink when they wanted one was negated soon after when they told that they were now forbidden to smoke over their coffee and cognac!

DebsOctober 1st 2009.

What's the MP, Claire Curtis Thomas doing about it? She lives there and her children go to school there. Oh, sorry, I forgot, it's only her SECOND home. Yeh right.

Brighton RoadOctober 1st 2009.

South Road is a massively missed opportunity. Waterloo is a great area, its people ranging from extremely well off to claimants and everything else inbetween. There are as well, many well known creative,arts and media folks living there who are refugees from Lark Lane and L8. There is even a multi-racial element which you won't see anywhere else north of the docks. Why then, has South Road turned into a mess? Who allows these money launderers to open up? How the hell is Bar South, which had a fcuking torture room upstairs, for god's sake, allowed to regain its licence? Answer that. Fight, you influential rich lot and theatre types, for your area, and stop leaving it to one old man in a wheelchair to take the flak of death threats and the like from this scum of the earth

AnonymousOctober 1st 2009.

I was all for the liberalisation of the drinking laws, but that was because I didn't really appreciate the British attitude to alcohol, which is a lot different to the rest of the world. So yes, I would put the hour back to the way they were in the 1990s, except you should be allowed to go to the pub as now on Sunday. That used to get very embarrassing when foreign visitors came over.

puzzled in waterlooOctober 1st 2009.

I live and work in Waterloo. I can't actually remember a new pub or bar license being granted in the last 5 to 7 years on South Road. Please correct me otherwise. The reason why Sefton Council has granted so many premises licenses is because very few normal retail businesses would touch South Road in a million years. They have no other choice rate revenues are rate revenues whether it is a carpet shop or a pub. I find the whole phone call thing somewhat far fetched. No offense to the guy he does a good job an all. Off Licenses are the biggest problem the area faces as it's the young kids who are causing the trouble(in the parks around the train station at the beach etc). The country needs to be more tightly regulated in the purchase of alcohol. Every can of of beer should be traceable back to a purchaser and shop. That would go someway to eradicating under age drinking. Maybe there is a shout for some sort of booze card to stop the little dick heads getting alcohol.

Never trust a toryOctober 1st 2009.

don't you love the tories proposals re drink?"We will increse the price of WKID and alcopops". yeh right. So that's ok, kids will then become winos at 3 for £10.

The ObserverOctober 1st 2009.

People who opposed the insane idea of building a stadium for the Everton football millionaires with European Social Fund money at Queens Dock received death threats too. It's the normal practice for criminal scum who are all-too-used to getting their own highly profitable way in this city.

Sleepless of WaterlooOctober 1st 2009.

Yep, I live in a road off South Road and hate the mess on Sat and Sunday mornings. Vomit, takeaways, rubbish, glass, blood and sometimes all of them at once and often in my front garden. The police helicopter over your house for half the night isn't good for your sleep either. It wasn't like this when we moved in 10 years ago and I'm angry that the plethora of new bars and late licences on the strip have changed everything so much. The Alex (average evening client age, 16) has a pole for dancing and foam parties for Christ's sake! Ok, it's not Beirut. Some of the bars and pubs are fine (I should know, I drink in them), and it's pretty quiet during the week, but there's still no need for the weekend horror story. Sefton MBC need a kick in the pants - how can it benefit them, either socially or financially, allowing so many licences (unless it's in the backpocket)?So i say good on Mr Fazey. The council don't give a shit - how can they consider giving Bar South its licence back? - so it needs the locals to stand up for their neighbourhood.

Dr. SpockOctober 1st 2009.

When it comes to underage drinkers going on antisocial rampages, I blame the parents. They ought to be publicly flogged. BOTH of them.

Interrupted SleepOctober 1st 2009.

I think the drink laws should go back to the fifties and, closing time should be10.30pm .No Opening before 11am. Afternoon closing 3.00pm till 5.30. Then children would have parents capable of taking them to school. Now children are left unattended while inebriated young parents scream and behave unruly. I am often awoken to the pungent aroma of hot urine and Diarrhea and the regurgitative strains of excessive alcoholic consumption. Normally with a cacophony of demented steam hammers interlaced with a 747 jet engine interrupted by an epileptic woodpecker which purports to have a relationship to music. For God’s sake bring some sanity into the licensing laws and let’s get some sleep.

AndyOctober 1st 2009.

I would have thought Mzz Claire Curtis Thomas had other things on her mind. Like finding a few nice cosy directorships for when she loses her seat in the next election...

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