• From February 9, 2005

Kingston Council won the hearts, if not the livers, of drinkers across the borough when it announced it would not try to end happy hours and cut-price drinks promotions after Richmond’s drive to end a binge-drinking blight.

The council had asked the Office of Fair Trading to clarify the powers that enable authorities to ban special pricing as part of its licensing agreements.

There had been initial concern that banning cut-price booze would be a breach of trade law, but that was dismissed – and the news was hailed as a potential weapon in the fight against binge drinking.

But a spokesman for the council said: “[The regulation co-ordinator] has forwarded some information that we have got and are considering, but at present there are no plans to implement these measures directly.”

The previous year, Richmond Council bypassed the co-ordinator’s legal advice to sign a voluntary code of conduct agreeing not to hold happy hours or drinks promotions like two-for-one offers.

Only JD Wetherspoon refused to sign the code and the council planned to knock on their door again the following week.

Richmond Council leader Councillor Tony Arbour said: “This news is telling us that what has happened here has been perfectly lawful. It’s wonderful news.

“We always took the view that because it was a voluntary code it could not possibly be in restraint of trade and we are happy that we can now continue with this very successful initiative.

“I am meeting Tim Martin, managing director of JD Wetherspoon, next month and we are going to be able to ask him to sign up from a position of considerable strength.”

Coun Arbour, who is also Kingston’s London Assembly representative, was due to meet Kingston police to enlist their lobbying power in ratcheting up pressure on Kingston Council.

  • February 10, 1965

Some 100 members of Hawker’s design staff at Kingston were laid off after the Government decided to abandon the P-1145 fighter jet.

Factory workers were not yet affected, but much depended on orders for the P-1127 – the precursor to the Harrier.

  • February 9, 1990

Residents were on red alert after the Thames at Kingston reached a warning level after a week of heavy rain and high winds.

The rain had already done damage after a log came roaring down the swollen Hogsmill and wrecked a houseboat.

  • February 9, 2005

Staff at Kingston Hospital raised concerns over patients’ diets after real porridge was axed from the breakfast menu and replaced with Ready Brek made with water.

Nurses had to use water because there was no facility to heat milk on the wards.