Controversial proposals to ban alcohol sales in Blackpool after 3am have been thrown out by councillors.
The town’s licensing committee has rejected an application by the police for an Early Morning Restriction Order.
Blackpool Council announced the decision today following a four-day hearing at the town hall last week.
Blackpool Police had applied for the order which they said was necessary to combat booze-fuelled disorder in the town centre.
But club and pub bosses opposed the move saying it would sound the death knell for some venues and send out the wrong message about Blackpool.
Blackpool would have been the first local authority in the country to introduce an EMRO.
The decision must now go to the full council for ratification.
Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group on Blackpool Council, welcomed the decision.
He said: “The council had already stated in their ‘Blackpool Plan’ that they would implement an EMRO so I was surprised and delighted that after hearing both sides of the argument that the whole committee agreed not to go ahead.
“I always said that the whole debate was a farce and I think a unanimous decision has proved me right.
“The police’s action and position has disappointed a lot of businesses and residents in the town and they now have to start to build bridges to repair relationships.
“What I will be demanding to know is just how much public money has been wasted on this debate especially from the police’s resources at a time when they are complaining about being stretched.”
Coun Adrian Hutton, Chairman of the Licensing Committee, said: “After careful consideration of all the evidence the committee has voted against the introduction of an Early Morning Restriction order.
“I would like to thank everyone who took the time to speak and provide us with information in relation to this decision.”
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Needless to say, this decision is disappointing. The Council will now need to focus its efforts on examining other ways in which the huge problems caused by late night drinking can be tackled.
“Of all the many objections to the EMRO, nobody suggested that late night drinking in Blackpool was not a problem - so that is a good starting point.
“Our efforts to improve the town’s economy, the public health and the visitor experience are all reliant upon a solution to this problem being found. We would like that solution to one that is acceptable to the licensed trade, the Police, the Council and the NHS.
“It will be vital that the recommendations of the committee are taken seriously and produce tangible early results. It is not acceptable to continue to let the problems of late night drinking and violence to harm our economy and disrupt the lives of our residents.”
Mark Bates, assistant chief constable at Lancashire Police, said: “We are extremely disappointed at the decision not to grant the Early Morning Restriction Order.
A weight of evidence was presented in support of the council’s application that amply demonstrated the real impact of late night excessive drinking has on the quality of life, crime and disorder for Blackpool’s, residents and visitors.
Personal and extensive testimonies were presented to the committee by police, ambulance staff, hoteliers, railway, shop and post office workers which all gave first hand insights into the real problems they see and face.
The evidence we presented in support of the council’s application clearly demonstrated a reasonable measure, ceasing the serving at alcohol at 3am. This would impact upon a few but would benefit the rest of Blackpool. The issue of risk and harm through excessive alcohol consumption remains a high priority for the police and all partners.
Lancashire Constabulary is committed to work with the all parties to ensure that Blackpool is a place where residents and visitors can safely enjoy.
PICK UP A COPY OF TUESDAY’S GAZETTE FOR THE FULL STORY AND REACTION TO THE DECISION.