Doing a customary very general sweep through the newspaper archives, I found in my dustpan this little gem:
"The Clayton Side
Mr. R Holden said some who had signed the petition against the public house resided in Seabridge-road and Myott-avenue, and they had a public house within a hundreds of their residence. There was a "fair number on the Clayton side who ought to have a say in the matter. As regarded shops, he thought that to-day many would vote in favour of them. The amendment was lost, seven voting in favour of it and 25 against."
Staffordshire Sentinel - Thursday 07 December 1944, page 1.
I was immediately intrigued by this short fragment. Where the hell was this? Why was there a petition against a pub?
The lucky residents of Seabridge Road and Myott Avenue didn't just have one pub within 100 yards, they had two. At least. There might have been more in 1944. Come to think of it, isn't this an odd topic to be wasting time on, knee-deep in WW II?
I'll spare you the whole article. It's pretty confusing and not very informative, despite being overly long. Cut short, residents of Westlands Estate, a posh-looking bit of Newcastle-under-Lyme complained to the council when someone wanted to build a pub. Pointing out they'd had a referendum - not sure exactly when, but at least 10 years previously - about whether to have shops or pubs. And voted against both. Not sure what law that could have been under. I though local vetoes were only allowed in Scotland.
Looking at a map, there still don't seem to be any pubs in what's quite a large area. It must be a real pain in the arse, if you live there. Though, if you voluntarily live there, you couldn't possibly care if there was a pub nearby. Is there still a ban on pubs in Westlands? Let me know if you have the answer.
I'm now wondering: How many other places in England were businesses banned? And when, if ever, did the practice end? No shops and no pubs - that's effectively dry. Or even just pubs not allowed, that's bad enough. I know it happened in Scotland. I think in Wales, too, but I'm not sure. (Someone better informed, please fill me in.)
Covenants on land sold for development forbidding pubs, I know that occurred. A big chunk of Leeds 6 originally was pub-less for that very reason. But I think as long ago as the 1930s that particular one had been dropped.
Let me know if you have any current or past examples. Not just restricted to England, or even the UK.
A lot of questions and not many answers. Which is usually a sign that I'm standing on a precipice. About to dive off.