Warwick café refused boy free tap water, even though family had paid £15 for food
A FATHER of two was left “incensed” after spending £15 on food at a park cafe but staff refused to fill up his young son’s bottle with tap water.
And Paul Brown believes the managers at Warwick Tea Rooms are in breach of legislation which states that premises selling alcohol must provide free water to customers if they ask for it.
Mr Brown visited St Nicholas Park, Warwick, with sons Harvey, aged nine, and Regan, seven, and had cycled there from their home in Emscote Road.
Mr Brown, who runs a recruitment business, said when he asked for tap water to refil his son’s bottle, he was told it was “not policy”.
He said: “I was amazed that the cafe could have such a policy.
“Not only is it morally wrong, but it’s also illegal.
“If a premises is selling alcohol and a customer asks for free tap water, it has to be provided.”
Mr Brown said when he asked about the policy in a polite and patient manner with a man who he believed to be part of the management, he was told to get water from the nearby lavatory block or buy some.
But when he tried, Mr Brown said the lavatory handwashing machines only dispense hot water.
He said he also raised the matter with a woman who he also believed was part of the management, but to no avail, even though he said he had eaten there.
“She said if they allowed free tap water they would have to employ one person to do it all day.
“I think it’s appalling for a cafe to do this and the more I thought of it, the more incensed I became. It was one of the few hot days and my son wanted some water.”
He checked on the internet for legislation covering customers who ask for tap water and came upon the new regulation, which national reports said breaches of it are punishable by a fine of up to £20,000, six months in prison or the drinks licence being revoked, although there may be a legal grey area as to whether licensed premises can charge for the labour to fetch the water, use of glass and glass cleaning.
“I will not spend another penny in that cafe unless I get an apology and there is a reversal of the tap water policy,” said Mr Brown.
“Until that day I will take my own food and drink to the park.”
The Courier tried on three occasions to get a comment from the cafe, but Warwick District Council, which owns the site and leases it to a business, is investigating the complaint.
A council spokeswoman said the legislation is outlined in a Home Office document on the responsible sale of alcohol by drinks license holders, adding: “They are expected to provide water to customers if they sell alcohol.”
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Monday 20 May 2013
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