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The fast-food retailer Subway has sparked further consternation amongst Lancaster University students after the opening hours proposed for its forthcoming campus outlet were revealed.
In a licensing document, seen by SCAN, Subway has proposed opening hours of 7am to 4am, seven days a week, for its branch within the Bowland Main complex. Reduced opening hours would operate outside of term-time, though the exact schedule has yet to be laid out and will be confirmed once a “profitable trading pattern” has been established by the company.
Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) Councillor and former Bowland College President Daniel-Sean Huisman has expressed his concern over the proposal to members of LUSU Council in order to canvass opinions on the matter, stating that he was “really concerned about the disruption caused to those living in Bowland Main.”
Huisman further argued that, since the extent of the retailer’s opening hours is “clearly… to attract those who have come back from nights out,” residents of the nearby college accommodation – which comprises over one hundred students, including families – may be faced with disruption caused by night-time revellers, as well as with the noise of deliveries taking place in the three-hour window during which the outlet is closed to customers.
Although the license proposal does include a commitment to “[w]ork closely alongside University personnel and security” in order to prevent “public nuisance”, the fact remains that the highest frequency of crimes reported as occurring on Lancaster University’s campus are those involving antisocial behaviour, according to the crime, policing and criminal justice website for England Wales and Northern Ireland, police.uk.
Current Bowland President Patrick Somervell has vowed to look into the matter with the aid of Huisman, who is also planning to contact Lancaster City Council in order to object to the licence proposal submitted by the franchisee, Maiquez Ltd. Somervell stated that he and Huisman would be “gathering information and student opinion in the coming days.”
Initial reactions from students indicate that many are opposed to the idea of a fast-food outlet operating on campus almost around the clock, particularly when its proximity to student residences poses a risk of serious disturbances. Students writing on the Bowland College Facebook page shared a consensus of opinion that late-night opening hours may be understandable and permissible on a Friday or Saturday night, but would not be in the best interests of students’ welfare if the licence proposal of a 4am finish throughout the week were to be granted. Some questioned the necessity of catering to a post-night-out student market to such a degree when the purpose of the University is primarily to educate – an objective that may be undermined by anti-social retail hours of vendors operating on campus.
However, one student posting on the Facebook page made the point that “[j]ust because [Maiquez] are applying for a 4am license every day of the week doesn’t mean they’ll be open that late.” The student illustrated the point by adding, “The campus bars have a license until 3am every night but rarely stay open past midnight. Subway will close as and when demand drops.”
Objections to the licence proposal may be submitted to the City Council up until 28th April. The University has yet to release a statement on the matter, and SCAN is awaiting an official response from Maiquez Ltd.