Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Crime and disorder sparked by late night drinking in a Norfolk seaside resort could be tackled with new measures that restrict the sale of alcohol and charge business more to serve in the early hours.
In a bid to tackle the problems caused by late night drinking, the government has introduced new legislation, which gives local authorities the power to impose early morning restriction orders and late night levies.
And members of Great Yarmouth Borough Council are set to discuss the clampdown measures this week.
Restriction orders allow councils to ban the sale of alcohol for a period of time between the hours of midnight and 6am and aim to curb “recurring problems” such as drink-fuelled crimes, anti-social behaviour and incidents of serious public nuisance.
The levy, meanwhile gives authorities the right to charge more for late night licences but if introduced all premises that serve in the early hours would be affected.
If introduced, 70pc of the extra charge would be paid to the police with the remaining 30pc ring-fenced to be spent on initiatives to further tackle alcohol-related crime.
The council’s licensing committee, which meets on Thursday, is now being encouraged to launch a consultation with bar and club owners over the introduction of the new measures.
A council report describes the restriction order as a “powerful tool” and warns both powers could have a “major economic effect” on businesses.
It adds: “A restriction order may be an effective tool for dealing with localised issues as it can be targeted at the areas which most need them. However, it may displace a problem rather than remove it.
“They levy must relate to the entire area. It cannot relate to part of the area. Therefore it will impose extra economic burden on all operators.”
John Holmes, chairman of the council’s licensing committee, said talks into the orders were at a very early stage and said the first thing he wanted to do was consult with businesses to gauge feeling.
He added: “It could be a measure that could help in some areas but I think it’s got to be very carefully looked at. One of the problems I can foresee is the fact we’re a seaside town, we’re a family resort but also we’re trying to stimulate some night time economy.
“I think there’s a problem we could be facing trying to have it both ways. We do have some problems but it’s fairly isolated.”
Mr Holmes was keen to see if business owners would enter a voluntary scheme, whereby they would agree to restrict their serving hours. He said this method is being trialled in Norwich and he was interested to see the results.