West Suffolk Council seeks views on revised licensing policy for Newmarket
A council is considering whether a licensing policy aimed at preventing anti-social behaviour in the centre of Newmarket should continue.
The current policy, first introduced by Forest Heath District Council in 2008, applies to a cumulative impact assessment covering the High Street area of the town.
It means owners of businesses applying to extend the hours in which they can sell alcohol need to provide evidence of how they plan to manage the potential impact on the local community before they are granted a licence.
The cumulative impact policy was first introduced when Newmarket was recognised as the night club capital of East Anglia, with the De Niro’s club regularly bringing in hundreds of clubbers from across the region.
Levels of disorder and violent behaviour required an increased police presence and nearby residents often complained of disturbance. However the club closed some years ago and the town’s night-time economy is now much reduced.
The policy was renewed in 2011, 2016, and 2018, and must be reviewed by the end of this year. If not renewed it will lapse.
West Suffolk Council, the licensing authority, is now asking both residents and licence holders, through a consultation which began last week, if they wish to retain a policy which was designed to help businesses while reducing the impact of any anti-social behaviour on the town centre.
Newmarket councillor Andy Drummond, cabinet member for planning and regulatory, said: “We are very aware of the impact the pandemic has had on the hospitality trade and have worked with the sector from the first moment of lockdown.
“We continue to support local businesses as part of a healthy local economy and will be contacting them direct to get their views.”
West Suffolk Council leader Cllr John Griffiths added: “Newmarket town centre has changed considerably since the Cumulative Impact Assessment was first set up.
“The number and character of late-night opening establishments, which were frequently a focal point for crime and anti-social behaviour have changed. And crime in the area is declining, with more incidents during daylight hours.”
The consultation lasts until June 28, with a decision made later this year and can be found on West Suffolk Council's website.