Clash over report into pubs’ impact

Police taped off an area after an alcohol-related glassing incident in Poulton town centre

Police taped off an area after an alcohol-related glassing incident in Poulton town centre

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CONCERNED residents today slammed a report which claims new powers limiting the number of pubs is not necessary.

Last month licensing bosses called for an investigation into alcohol-related disorder in Poulton town centre.

Night time at The Grapevine, Poulton

Night time at The Grapevine, Poulton

A report, published by Wyre Council’s licensing manager, revealed there are 64 premises in the town holding licenses – including 12 licensed for ‘off sales only’.

It also showed there are a number of premises whose hours allow them to open after midnight on some or all days of the week.

The report suggested the council consider a ‘cumulative impact policy’ if they felt the town was saturated with pubs and clubs.

This would mean any applications for new licensed premises would be refused unless the applicants could prove their activities would not add to public disorder. However, the report also revealed following investigations the police were not looking to adopt this approach.

Carol Wooley, chairman of Poulton Historical and Civic Society, said the group would continue to fight against any new applications.

She said: “What the police don’t realise is how much rubbish is left around in front of traders’ businesses.

“The town is becoming more and more a night time economy and these people who make judgements about the policies required often don’t live in the town.

“We are the civic society and we are going to object to any new license or extension of license – in fact there is another application coming up.

“A cumulative policy would not be an outright ban on licensed premises but it would make it harder for the night time economy to flourish.”

Licensing manager Christa Ferguson, who wrote the report, said members ask for information about Poulton every couple of years.

She said: “There was no specific reason why this report was carried out, from time to time members ask for an information item.

“I think there are only about 134 cumulative impact policies in use in the UK, you really need strong evidence to support your application. Poulton is a town that is changing and I know people get a bit concerned about that but we could only justify this policy if there is a dramatic rise in crime and disorder.”

PC Tracy Potts, Licensing officer for Wyre said there had been a reduction in crime.

She said; “Residents concerns regarding day time economy is a completely different issue to crime and disorder.

“To bring in a cumulative impact policy we need to provide sufficient evidence that the cumulative effect of licensed premises are giving rise to problems of public disorder.

“We have actually had less complaints regarding disorder.”