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Consultation on alcohol licensing in Durham City

We asked for your say on whether we should introduce a policy which limits licensed premises in the city.

We are reviewing the feedback and will publish here when it is available.


We have recently reviewed our licensing policy and in response to some concerns about density of licensed premises in Durham City potentially increasing crime and nuisance levels, we are exploring if there is a need to bring in a special licensing policy. A special licensing policy can be introduced if there is sufficient evidence that the number, type or density of licensed premises is having a negative 'cumulative impact' in an area.

The only objectives that can be taken into consideration when granting licences for premises such as pubs, night-clubs, takeaways and off-licences are:

  • crime and disorder
  • public safety
  • public nuisance
  • the protection of children from harm.

How do we know if a special policy is needed?

To find out if we need a Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP), we carried out an assessment looking at the impact of premises licensed for the sale of alcohol for consumption on or off the premises as well as those late-night refreshment providers which are not licensed to sell alcohol eg takeaway food shops.

A special policy can apply to parts of our county, for example, a single road, part of a town or city centre where evidence exists that crime and disorder, public nuisance or public safety issues are specifically linked to the number of licensed premises in that area.

During the assessment, evidence will be gathered which is then fully assessed to find out what problems exist, and if there are connections between them and licensed premises, and whether a special policy would help to address such matters.

To ensure that the assessment collects relevant information, we will work closely with key organisation to collect evidence, including the Police, the Fire and Rescue Service, our Community Safety team, our Environmental Health service and our City Centre Manager.

This will include gathering local crime and disorder statistics, including specific types of crime, hotspots and anti-social behaviour offences.

We also want to hear from the community and from those who represent people living and working in the City. Information provided will be considered alongside that of the organisations listed above.

The Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP) explained

If, based on evidence and need, we decide to include a special policy for Durham City in the licensing policy, we would consult with key partners and stakeholder as listed in the Licensing Act 2003 and publish the assessment (CIA).

The following shows what the special policy can and can't do if it is brought in.

The policy would not do

It would not:

  • change the way that licensing decisions are made. Applications for new licences or variations to existing licences must still be considered on an individual basis.
  • stop applications that are unlikely to add to the cumulative impact on the licensing objectives being granted
  • relate to temporary licensed events which would require a Temporary Event Notice (TEN)
  • apply to all licensed premises. For example, Hotels may not be affected
  • change the number of existing licenses or affect the opening hours of premises with existing licenses

What the policy would do


  • is a strong statement of intent about our approach to licence applications
  • will explain that it is likely that granting further premises and/or club premises certificates in the defined area would be inconsistent with our duty to promote the licensing objectives
  • creates a assumption that any application caught by it would be refused on receipt of a relevant representation unless the applicant can provide evidence to challenge that presumption

We would then have to review the CIP every 3 years (starting with its publication or revision), including a full consultation. If we (as the licensing authority) choose to keep the CIA in place, then we must set out the evidence as to why we came to that conclusion.

Have your say

Closing date for comments was 5.00pm on Friday 8 November 2019.

Next steps

We will review your feedback and if necessary, it will go to our Licensing Committee. This may then lead to us reviewing our Licensing Policy.

Contact us
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
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