A BUSY pub has been urged to get its house in order after crowds of closely huddled revellers were spotted outside the premises.

Pictures emerged on Saturday evening of dozens of people gathered outside The Playhouse, in St John’s Street, Colchester, ignoring social distancing rules.

Colchester Council’s public safety boss Mike Lilley said he had received several complaints about similar issues at the pub.

He said: “Councillor Lee Scordis sent me a picture of the morning after on Sunday and the pavements were disgusting, littered with cigarette butts and garbage.

“I have spoken to the licensing team at the council and at Essex Police and they are setting up a meeting with the manager of Playhouse. They could face a Community Protection Notice if this continues.”

Braintree and Witham Times:

  • The scene outside The Playhouse on Saturday night

With the easing of lockdown pubs and bars across the country were able to reopen, but with strict new measures to meet social distancing guidelines in place.

Mr Lilley said since so-called Super Saturday, things had gone well in the town centre, but there had been some issues.

Braintree and Witham Times:

  • Public Safety boss Mike Lilley says pubs reopening has generally gone well

He said: “Generally I think reopening has gone well. We have had one gentleman banned via Pubwatch this weekend but it shows if you do come into the town and cause trouble then action will be taken.”

“The situation at The Playhouse is disappointing because they have had months waiting to reopen where they should have been getting measures in place.”

The Playhouse is owned by Wetherspoon and spokesman Eddie Gershon acknowledged residents’ concerns.

He said: “The pub has been busy since reopening and our overriding aim is to ensure customers and staff can socialise and work in a safe environment.

“There are markings on the floor outside and the pub and the distance between these markings have been extended due to the sizes of groups that are visiting the pub.

“We have door staff at the pub and we are asking the queuing customers to adhere to the social distancing measures in place.

“Groups and individuals who have ignored these requests have been refused entry to the pub and we will continue to take this action.”