FORMER pub landlady Anna Baker hoped to bring a bit of extra cheer to the tow path in Devizes by using her barge as an off-licence but fell foul of Devizes Town Council.

Ms Baker, who used to run The Bear in Chippenham, has applied to Wiltshire Council for permission to sell alcohol from her boat The George from 11am to 11.30pm.

But despite getting backing from Guardians leader Nigel Carter who said he had spoken to Ms Baker and thought she was a responsible operator other members of the planning committee spoke out about the dangers of mixing alcohol with a narrow tow path.

She said: "I didn't realise it was being discussed at the town council meeting so didn't have the chance to speak up. The idea is just for people to buy drink to take-away not to drink on the tow path.

"You see people carrying beer walking along here all the time and they are in a much worse state than my customers would be."

She said she had previously operated with temporary licences from moorings at other locations including by the Barge at Honeystreet. She said: "It was very popular and there were no problems.

"I applied for this licence as I had used up my temporary ones but they can be renewed from January. But it would mean me taking out lots of different moorings at £350 a time."

But councillor Jane Burton called the idea of having an off-licence on the tow path on the opposite side of the canal to The Wharf Theatre ludicrous especially through the winter when nights are long and dark from late afternoon.

She said: "It is asking for trouble. I am not very happy about the idea of alcohol being sold there until 11.30pm."

Cllr Kelvin Nash was also worried that if people bought drink and then stayed by the barge to drink it blockages could be caused for other people using the tow path.