Drowning fears over Hemsworth Water Park lakeside cafe's plans to sell alcohol

The lakeside cafe, at Hemsworth Water Park.
The lakeside cafe, at Hemsworth Water Park.

Selling alcohol to visitors at a lakeside cafe could put people at risk of drowning, objectors have claimed.

Hemsworth Town Council has applied for a licence to serve booze for up to 12 hours a day at the town's water park and playworld.

The cafe overlooks the water park's lake.

The cafe overlooks the water park's lake.

But the idea has been met with alarm from some local people, one of whom said that the prospect of selling alcohol at the cafe, which overlooks the park's lake, was "a recipe for disaster".

The town council, which runs the venue, says that the cafe will remain "family orientated" and that the surrounding area is subject to regular patrols by trained security staff.

However, objectors said there have been fatalities at the lake linked to alcohol before and expressed concerns about a repeat.

Jo Walker said: "I feel that there are enough places serving alcohol in the area and given the proximity to water, the idea of licensing the cafe is a bad idea.

"The effects of alcohol consumption are well documented and the behaviour of people under its influence can be erratic, violent and sometimes dangerous, as well as loud and unruly. The idea is not safe and not responsible."

Valerie Ely, from Castleford, said: "This is beyond irresponsible to sell alcohol in terms of water safety as I am aware fatalities have occurred previously.

Also, Hemsworth Water Park is a family destination and as such alcohol should not be sold."

District councillor Lynn Masterman, who represents Ossett, said that even though the application covered an area away from her ward she was still concerned about it.

She added: "I believe there have been deaths by drowning in the past and one of these was alcohol related. Sale of alcohol would pose a high risk of this happening again.

"Furthermore, it is a family based venue and I don't think this would be enhanced by the provision.

"The combination of an adjacent lake and alcohol is a recipe for disaster."

If granted a licence, the cafe would be able to sell alcohol from 10am until 10.30pm on weekday nights, and until 11.30pm on weekends.

Hemsworth Town Council had originally wanted permission to serve booze until the early hours, but agreed to cut opening hours following police advice.

In its application, the town council said that the cafe "used to run as a pub".

Explaining how they would help prevent crime and promote public safety, they said: "We have trained security staff from at least 30 minutes before and after opening/closing. We have CCTV in place with appropriate signs and images retained for 28 days.

"We have staff trained in first aid, health and safety and emergency evacuation."

The child's play area at the venue will remain "safe, secure and monitored", the town council added.

The application will be considered at a hearing this Thursday, alongside a request for permission to play recorded music at the venue.

Local Democracy Reporting Service