New date for Blackpool EMRO hearing

Blackpool Councillor 'Coun Norman Hardy
Blackpool Councillor 'Coun Norman Hardy
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A new date has been set for a key hearing into the future of Blackpool’s night time economy.

Five days have been set aside to consider controversial plans to introduce an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) in the resort.

Crime and disorder in Blackpool town centre.

Crime and disorder in Blackpool town centre.

Licensing councillors will meet from Monday, December 9 to Friday, December 13 to hear representations on the proposal to ban alcohol sales after 3am in parts of Blackpool town centre.

The meeting was originally due to have been held on September 4 and 5, but was delayed in order to allow more time for all the evidence to be presented.

Blackpool’s chairman of licensing Coun Norman Hardy said: “It has been a difficult job to get all 15 councillors on the committee available for five days, and we are also dealing with a number of barristers who will be involved.

“It is our job to ensure that all the people involved have their say.

“Whatever the decision may be, it will only be dealt with on the licensing objectives.”

The police have applied for an EMRO to restrict alcohol sales after 3am at venues in a designated area of the town centre in order to tackle late night violence.

A Cumulative Impact Zone has been drawn up from North Pier in the west, past The Tower in the south and into town as far east as Blackpool North railway station and north to Princess Parade.

This is where the concentration of late licences, including Club Sanuk and the Funny Girls complex, are.

But club operators have warned the move will damage tourism and result in job losses. Crime, particularly violent crime, has fallen in Blackpool town centre since opening hours were relaxed under the Licensing Act almost a decade ago.

Proposals for an EMRO were first put forward in November last year.

Under new Government legislation introduced last year, councils can consider introducing an EMRO to reign in licensing hours, or a Late Night Levy to help with policing costs.

The measures are designed to relieve pressures associated with licensing changes brought in by the Government in 2005, which allowed 24-hour drinking.

Blackpool Council carried out a consultation on the EMRO this summer.

The police are calling for the order to be introduced because they believe it will help to reduce the amount of late night violent crime in the town centre.

But club and pub owners, and some tourism chiefs, have warned the move could damage the town’s night time economy.

The EMRO would ban the sale of alcohol between 3am and 6am apart from on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, if it went ahead.