Public have their say on Norwich nightclub action plan at meeting

Prince of Wales Road at night. Picture: Denise Bradley Prince of Wales Road at night. Picture: Denise Bradley

Saturday, April 5, 2014
12:55 AM

People who live in the centre of Norwich were given the chance to have their say on a radical new action plan aimed at cutting alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour in the city’s clubland.

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More than 30 people attended a meeting of the Norwich Stakeholders’ Forum to discuss the new plan approved by Norwich City Council’s cabinet last month which comprises 12 key measures, including experimental road closures, extra CCTV cameras, taxi marshals, and new toilets.

The meeting, held at The King’s Centre, King Street, last night, was chaired by former Norwich North MP Ian Gibson, (pictured), and heard from co-chairman Ben Price, a Green city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, who conducted a report into tackling anti-social behaviour.

Mr Price said the action plan was a start, but insisted more still needed to be done. He said: “I very much welcome the fact the council has put together its action plan. However, this doesn’t go far enough. I felt we needed to tear up how we police the night-time economy and licensing and have a completely fresh approach.”

Damian Conway, who lives off Cattle Market Street in the city, told the meeting, which was also attended by Norwich South MP Simon Wright, Supt Dave Marshall, Mike Stonard, city council cabinet member for environment, development and transport and Ralph Gayton, chairman of the licensing committee, that the “ridiculous” licensing laws enacted in 2004 which allowed 24-hour drinking under the “false pretence” of a continental cafe culture needed to be changed.

He said: “There’s no reasonable person in the country who says this law is right.”

Susan Steward, chairman of the King Street Neighbours residents group, said there needed to be “more of a signal that Norwich City Council is determined to do something about this”. Mr Stonard insisted the action plan was not “hollow words” but “things we will do”.

The meeting also heard that in excess of 30,000 policing hours a year were invested in the night time economy in Prince of Wales Road and that a “voluntary agreement” by clubs in Prince of Wales Road about the time they all stop serving alcohol was currently working well.

However, formal Early Morning Restriction Orders (EMROs) – which restrict the sale of alcohol – could still be looked at if the agreement started to falter.

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