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Rutherford Punting Cambridge granted alcohol licence after anti-social behaviour concerns withdrawn

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A punting company in Cambridge will be allowed to continue selling alcohol on its tours after concerns over anti-social behaviour were withdrawn.

Rutherford Punting Cambridge at the River Cam (52149396)
Rutherford Punting Cambridge at the River Cam (52149396)

Rutherford Punting Cambridge applied to Cambridge City Council for a new premises licence to be able to sell alcohol to customers on its guided punting tours.

The company offers champagne tours and gin punting experiences as some of its punting tour experiences.

The punting company has a premises licence to sell alcohol, but due to a change of address to new offices at 90 Searle Street, it had apply for a new licence.

Concerns were initially raised by Anthony French, from the streets and open spaces department at the council, over the potential for anti-social behaviour if people were allowed to drink alcohol on Jesus Green.

However, Mr French withdrew his concerns after Rutherford Punting Company said it would amend its application to remove the part where it referenced that alcohol not consumed on the boats could be drunk on Jesus Green.

Google street view image of 90 Searle Street offices (52149398)
Google street view image of 90 Searle Street offices (52149398)

At a meeting of the city council’s licensing sub committee yesterday (Monday, October 11) the applicant’s representative clarified that any alcohol not finished on the guided tour would be put in a sealed container for the customers to take away with them.

Other concerns had been raised by an individual living near to the proposed licensed premises on Searle Street.

They said that an “off licence” on the “quiet residential road” was not “appropriate or needed”.

Speaking at the sub committee meeting, the applicant’s representative highlighted that the objector said they had not been able to view the full application, and that the application would not see 90 Searle Street become an off licence.

They said: “We have tried to engage with [the objector] but have heard nothing back from them.

“The reason we established contact is, note the first opening lines, they have not actually been able to view the full application.

Jesus Green, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire (52149390)
Jesus Green, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire (52149390)

“The email I sent on September 28, addressed the concerns expressed in the representation, providing more information on the nature of how the business operates.

“When you read the representation, it appears the concerns expressed that 90 Searle Street is to be a shop, an off licence.

“This premises is not going to be a shop, it’s purely used for storage of products before they are dispatched to customers.

“The commercial activities will be maximum one delivery every day, one courier, and a member of staff taking the products from the location to the riverside by bicycle.

“The nature of the business at Searle Street will cause no issues whatsoever for anybody.”

Founder and chief executive of Rutherford Punting Cambridge, Emma Wynne, told the committee that it is a small company that does not produce a lot of commercial activity.

River Cam at Jesus Green, in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire (52149394)
River Cam at Jesus Green, in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire (52149394)

She said: “When we first started we specialised in romantic tours and anniversary tours, and then came on to champagne tours.

“We only have four punts, we are a small company, our impact is pretty small, we’re not producing a lot of commercial activity.

“We have probably done 60 champagne tours this year. It’s quite a small level, but we’re trying to offer a nice service to people, offering services above what’s being offered elsewhere.”

The representative for the company also added that since the company had been founded it has gone from “strength to strength”.

After taking time to consider the application in private, the committee councillors returned and announced that the application would be granted.

They highlighted that they had considered the fact that the application “mirrored” the existing licence, as well as the details provided in the meeting such as the use of bicycles to deliver the alcohol from the offices to the punt station.

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