A LANDLADY has applied for a licence to keep her town-centre pub open until 5.30am - but she is adamant that the binge-drinking culture is having a very negative impact.

Annmarie McCarthy runs the popular Albion in Wimborne and - because of a change in the law - she must apply for new full-time licence for the longest period she might want to open on any given night.

The old system of applying for special extensions is on its way out.

"My intention is to close at the normal time but if you have got 30 people in the bar at 11 o'clock, it would be nice to have that flexibility," she said.

"I think the 24 hours licence is ludicrous - who wants to work into the early hours?

"People have to have a life, my staff have to have a life.

"And you've got to pay staff, it's actually not viable.

"I don't think we have got the continental mentality here. They are out with the children, drinking wine with water - it's very-family orientated but we don't do that.

"I think the day of the traditional pub is on its way out and that's such a shame.

"We keep losing that little bit of England. I have actually seen a decline in people's behaviour outside in the early hours.

"We have residents around here and I live here so I can appreciate how they feel, especially when people are going down for taxis.

"They are not quiet - they're shouting and screaming and being sick.

"There's no respect for people, for people's property or people's space."

Ms McCarthy actually wanted a 2am licence but brewers Hall & Woodhouse felt a later one was more appropriate because The Albion's residential guests already have the right to drink 24 hours a day.

A spokesman for East Dorset District Council - which now issues licences - said there had been no objections to the Albion's application and, unless any were made, the licence would be granted because that was how the new law was framed.

Only people, businesses or agencies directly affected by a licence could object but this was balanced by licences always being up for review which made the process more accountable, he added.

First published: August 23, 2005