Let’s hope this is not a return to the bad old days

Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth
Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth
The Most Rev Bishop Michael Curry gives an address during the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Zella love it    CREDIT:  Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

ZELLA COMPTON: He could almost have made me a believer

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During Freshers Week the number of serious incidents in Guildhall Walk quadrupled compared to last year.

More incidents occur between 1am and 5am in that same strip of pubs and clubs in the city centre than at any other time.

Those were the cold hard facts presented to Portsmouth City Council’s sub-licensing committee by the police at a hearing on whether to extend the opening hours of Ken’s Kebabs, in Guildhall Walk, to 5am.

However, having listened to those facts, councillors agreed to the kebab shop owner’s demands.

A few years ago Guildhall Walk was one of the most violent streets in the country.

Booze-fuelled fights were the norm.

Back then, it would have been unusual for a night out there not to end with a punch-up between tanked-up revellers pouring out of the pubs and clubs.

On Friday and Saturday nights it was like the Wild West.

After a lot of work by the police and council officers, Guildhall Walk is not as bad as it once was but those latest police figures are hard to ignore.

One by one the venues – pubs, clubs and takeaways – have managed to get their opening hours extended, despite police objections.

So why haven’t the police been listened to? They are the ones patrolling the street.

The way Ken’s Kebabs is run is not in question.

But another 5am licence is more reason for punters to hang around longer, if not causing trouble, then just being a nuisance.

It’s difficult to understand why the very first late licence was approved. But it’s beginning to look like it was the thin end of the wedge.

Let’s hope we are not now seeing a return to the dark old days of Guildhall Walk.