Trish and Richard intervened in the debate over an application for a licence to sell alcohol, from the Registrar’s Office in Worcester Road, The Russettings. They persuaded the office to limit the hours sought so that it did not extend into the evenings.
The office was happy to do this as they are closed in the evening. It seems the application for a licence in the evening was a mistake. They want to be able to provide the happy couple at the weddings they conduct with a glass of champagne. These weddings are always daytime events.
Richard spoke at the hearing on the licence application. This is his speech:
“The task of the committee is to satisfy itself that two very important objectives can be achieved simultaneously. There is no reason why they cannot be.
First, the Registrar’s Office should be able to properly perform the important functions it discharges for the residents of Sutton, in a world where (I accept) the expectations of the community as to how these functions are discharged has changed a little.
Second, the Office should be a good neighbour and not disturb the peace and quiet of the residential area where it is situated.
I would like to say a word about each of these objectives.
The Registrar’s Office has been in Worcester Road for over 50 years and its functions have changed little over time. I have been to weddings at the office, as a guest, to meetings and conferences there, and to Citizenship Ceremonies. During my year as Mayor I attended these every week to make a speech of welcome to new citizens. The importance of these functions to those who take part needs to be recognised. The day you get married, the day you take British citizenship, these are massive moments in life that stay in the memory and I know the office does all it can to ensure these are happy events. I have been to these events and found champagne is being served when it has been brought by the happy couple or, very occasionally, the new citizen. I think it quite appropriate that a glass of champagne should be available at these events. Those involved all want to make this a happy day and there is no reason atall to suppose that this will lead to disorder in the context of these carefully organised and conducted ceremonies. In fact, there is more of an element of control if champagne is being provided in a managed way rather than people bringing their own.
On the second objective, the expectations of the Councillors and the residents is that the Office will continue to be a good neighbour. That is vital and I am pleased the Office has emphasised its commitment to do this. I am pleased with the assurances that have been given about a limit on the supply of champagne and how these events will continue to be carefully organised. The changes the Office have made to the application to limit the hours and to daytime are, of course, of massive importance and re-assurance.
There was no reason why the licence should extend into the evening. These weddings are daytime events and the office is normally closed in the evening.
I think it important this hearing today had taken place so we can get these assurances from the Office. The officers who run the Registrar’s Office know that were there to be any disorder and disturbance to local residents in the future, the Councillors and their employers would be immediately investigating. I very much hope the Office will continue to discharge these very important functions – which bring happiness to those who take part are are important, memorable days in their lives – without any undue disturbance to the neighbourhood beyond what has happened for the many years the Office has been in Worcester Road. “