Poetry group banned from pub by council on health and safety grounds
Article in the Telegraph
"The Royal Standard in Ely, Cambs, has been threatened with a £5,000 fine because it only has an entertainment licence for singing and not speaking.
The threat forced landlord Richard Whitmore to call time on the poetry group, called Turning Point, which has been drawing in customers on quiet Tuesday evenings.
Playwright Paola Trimarco, 46, who heads the group, accused East Cambridgeshire District Council of being petty.
He said: "The council are being ridiculously bureaucratic and looking to pick on someone.
"It seems absurd to go to all this trouble for a show which is only half an hour long.
"There isn't a lot going on in Ely on week nights. Do they want Ely to be another boring little market town? It seems the council say they want to support new events and then contradict themselves."
Mr Whitmore, 43, said: "It's trivial and pathetic. We've got a licence for 200 burly men to bounce around to whatever music they want, but not for a small number of quiet people to have a talk.
"When they give recitals it's not even amplified. They just get up and speak."
Like many rural pubs, he said the Royal Standard was struggling to survive.
"When you are on the back foot, you want a bit more support," he said.
Turning Point even has official backing, having received a £1,800 National Lottery grant after being set up eight months ago."
Should the pettifoggers be encouraged to find a job more suited to their talents?...(o: