March 10 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Norwich City Council has been accused of “failing in its duty of care” to people whose lives have been affected by problems linked to late night drinking in the city centre.
The claim was made by Green councillors, who have drawn up a report calling for a fresh look at licensing in streets such as Prince of Wales Road.
But the city council hit back, saying they had been working on the issue for the past year, with a report due to be discussed by the controlling cabinet next month.
The Green councillors have put forward 65 recommendations they say would improve the sitation and cut anti-social behaviour.
Among the recommendations are that late-opening alcohol suppliers should be charged a late night levy to help pay for policing; a minimum alcohol price should be introduced in certain areas and £320,000 spent on six portable toilet units
The report followed a public meeting of the Norwich Stakeholders Forum last November.
Thorpe Hamlet Green councillor Ben Price said: “I felt that the meeting of the Stakeholders’ Forum organised by Green Party councillors was of huge benefit to residents, the police and the council.
“I have researched how other local authorities have developed solutions to the same problems. Now is the time for Norwich to adopt these recommendations and tackle the problem in a new way.”
One of the report’s conclusions was that “the council is failing in its duty of care to the residents”.
But Mike Stonard, the city council’s cabinet member for licensing, said a report on the issues would be discussed by the cabinet next month, following a year of work.
He said the 50-page Green report was received at lunchtime yesterday, so it was “unreasonable” to be asked to comment at such short notice.
He added: “I personally attended this stakeholder meeting and, as I live just off of Prince of Wales Road, I do understand people’s concerns.
“The council and the police are working with all interested parties to find the best possible solution for all those directly or indirectly affected by the night time economy.”
• Do you think enough is being done to tackle alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour in Norwich? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.
These are the top 15 of the 65 Green recommendations:
1.That the council make a public commitment in it’s policy framework to challenging itself to take all reasonable steps to make improvements to all facets of the late night economy through the development of a new Norwich Licensing policy.
2.The council develops a city wide vision for the future management of the Late Night Economy. This works with the planning department in order to draw up a desired list of criteria for a Licence application based upon the Lewisham model.
3.To receive a written and verbal report from the responsible cabinet member which details at length how the council is approaching all of the recommendations contained within this report.
4.An independent review into improving the Council’s response to resident telephone calls and complaints regarding all areas of Licensing. The findings of which are then publicly released.
5.To apply a Cumulative Impact Zone, which will influence future Licensing applications and alterations and to investigate why a CIZ covering the LNAZ, had not been introduced in Norwich when the legalisation was developed. The result of which would have been less clubs on Prince of Wales road today.
6.To independently investigate that Environmental Health are enforcing licensing conditions to their fullest which will include investigating late night surveillance work undertaken and all evidence gathering techniques and to provide Environmental Health with levels of funding that can develop robust evidence gathering against venues that flout the conditions of their Licence.
7. The guarantee that a Senior Licensing Officer, a Senior Environmental Health Officer, Head of Department and Cabinet Councillor attend future Stakeholder meetings to listen to residents and report back on progress.
8. That the Council investigate and report back to the Stakeholders’ Forum about introducing a minimum alcohol price within “stress areas” as has been done in Newcastle.
9. To see the introduction of CCTV in the St Faiths Lane/Recorder Road area of the city.
10.Commit to an introduction of a Late Night Levy as a part of any EMRO (Early Morning Restriction Order) proposal.
11.To offer better information to the public about how they can utilise the review procedures within the Licensing Laws and make representations at applications/variations by providing workshops and training at least once a year explaining the processes and procedures.
12.Purchase portable urinal units x 2 (Cost £70,000/£80,000 each and £3,000 maintenance per year each) and portable facilities for Women x 4 (Cost £40,000 each) and to find a funding stream to off set these costs. To refurbish the toilet blocks on Prince of Wales and Tombland making them better suited to an area of the city that has both daytime and night-time anti social behaviour.
13.That the Council commits to developing software in conjunction with other partners notably the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) similar to Lewisham’s and London’s “Public Health Licensing Approach” so that directors of public health will to be able to respond consistently and affectively to licensing applications and that evidence can be presented in a clear way to the Licensing Committee and sub-committees. The Council will conduct a review into how this information is shared between the Council, Police and CCG.
14.The Council commission a fully independent report into calculating the costs of the maintenance, cleaning and repairs of the late night economy to Norwich. To commission a fully independent report in conjunction with CCG into the costs to health services of Norfolk from the late night economy.
15. That the Council conduct an investigation into setting up a BID (Business Improvement District) to cover businesses in the Late Night Economy to help fund improvements in it’s management that doesn’t impact financially on the other businesses in the city.