Local councils are refusing new licences to pubs, clubs and bars that want to open late in areas blighted by binge-drinking. Westminster, Nottingham and Newcastle are all planning crackdowns. They fear extended hours will result in more anti-social behaviour and violent crime. Frixos Tombolis, chairman of the Westminster city council's licensing committee, said the West End already had enough drinking venues. "Modest" extensions to midnight would be considered, but there would be a "presumption" against new late-night drinking venues. The tough stance is likely to be tested in the magistrates' courts by big bar and pub chains. The disputes could even reach the High Court. The Sunday Times 14/08/05 page 10