Consultation launched on licensing in Durham City
Views are being sought on whether to introduce a special policy regarding the number of licensed premises in Durham City.
We have launched a consultation this week to address concerns raised about the number and type of licensed premises in the city centre and whether this is causing crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB).
It follows a recent review of the council's licensing policy and seeks to assess the impact of venues licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on and off the premises. Consideration will also be given to the impact of late-night refreshment providers, which are not licensed to sell alcohol, such as takeaway food shops.
The consultation, which runs until Friday 8 November, will seek views on whether a special licensing policy should be introduced for the city centre. Respondents will be asked to provide answers to questions around crime and disorder, public safety, public nuisance and the protection of children from harm. These are the four objectives considered when granting licenses for premises such as pubs, night-clubs, takeaways and off-licenses.
To take part in the consultation, visit the Consultations page.
As well as seeking views from those who live and work in the city, the council will work closely with key organisations such as Durham Constabulary and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, to collect evidence including crime, disorder and ASB statistics. Durham's city centre manager and our officers with responsibility for environmental health and community safety will also be consulted.
All evidence and information will be fully assessed to determine whether a special licensing policy would help.
Getting the right balance
Cllr Brian Stephens, our Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: "A thriving night time economy is important for all cities, but having a large number of bars, night clubs and off-licences within a small area can have a cumulative and detrimental impact on those who live and work nearby.
"That's why it's important our licensing policy balances the legitimate needs of businesses and the demand for leisure activities, alongside the need to protect those that could possibly be adversely affected.
"At this stage, we are building up a picture of what the situation is like in Durham and seeking the views of those affected. I would encourage people to take part in the consultation."
If, based on evidence collected, it is felt a special policy for Durham City may be required, we would publish our findings and consult with key partners and stakeholders, with a view to revising the county-wide licensing policy by including a cumulative impact policy.
If introduced, the policy would not change the way that licensing decisions are made, with applications unlikely to add to the cumulative impact likely to still be granted. It would also not relate to temporary licensed events, which would require a Temporary Event Notice, and would not apply to all licensed premises, such as hotels. The number of existing licenses and the opening hours specified would also not be affected.