Consultation on renewal of Bury St Edmunds alcohol licensing policy
01 Jul 2020
Residents and alcohol licence holders in the centre of Bury St Edmunds are being asked if they wish to retain a policy designed to help businesses while reducing the impact of any antisocial behaviour on the town centre.
The current policy applies to a Cumulative Impact Area covering the Churchgate and Station Hill areas of Bury St Edmunds Town Centre. It means that businesses applying for increased alcohol trading hours need to provide evidence of how they plan to manage the impact on the local community, for example with extra door security.
The policy was first introduced for the historic core in 2014, renewed in 2017 with a slightly larger footprint to cover the Station Hill area and under law, will lapse if not renewed within three years. West Suffolk Council, as the licensing authority, is seeking to gather evidence from the public and trade to support a decision on whether it should be retained, with consultation due to start on 6 July.
Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council said,
“The policy was introduced when the effect of our growing evening economy was being felt in quiet residential streets and some argue , has been one of the many reasons that Bury has established such a strong reputation for good food and entertainment.
“This is of course not ideal timing given the pandemic, and quite how the future will pan out in some respects is unknown. However , unless we consult now the policy will lapse by default and any value it could continue to deliver will be lost. The evidence we are calling for from the trade and the public, is the value they believe the policy has and can deliver. For businesses, this may include operational or competitive factors. For the public it may concern alcohol related anti-social behaviour and their predisposition to support the local evening economy.
“This council has worked with the sector from the first moment of lockdown and we continue to lobby Government for support in the current crisis. We are committed to supporting it as part of a healthy local economy in the months and years of recovery ahead. We invite anyone with an interest to give us their evidence online at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/consultations by 17 August.”
The consultation covers licences for on and off premises alcohol sales and launches days after the hospitality industry reopens under strict new Government guidelines following Coronavirus lockdown. The West Suffolk Licensing Team will be individually contacting every licence holder affected by the policy, using phone, email, letter and door knocking to make sure they have the chance to have their say. Local business organisations will also be asked for their evidence. Residents Associations and local community networks are also being contacted, to pass the opportunity to comment on to members, and to make representations on their behalf.
The consultation last six weeks until 17 August, after which the evidence will be analysed and presented to Cabinet for decision making later in the year.