Durham - Licensing Policy
Durham County Council has recently closed their consultation on their new proposed licensing statement for the next 5 years. The Policy which covers the entire County has been recently criticised by Durham City’s Labour MP, Dr. Roberta Blackman-Woods, in a statement to the House of Commons on 15th May.
Dr. Blackman-Woods quoted in her speech one resident who told her:
“the town [Durham] just seems saturated with drinking”
Dr. Blackman-Woods went on to highlight the potential benefits of a Cumulative Impact Policy and the difficulties some residents have engaging with the system. The absence of an Council webpage with application details was highlighted, which has been adopted by other Local Authorities.
“We need a licensing Act that makes it easier to refuse late licensing hours and one that meets the needs of different communities. That also means reviewing the whole system of TENs and giving local people a greater say over licensing policy, not simply allowing their councillors to take on that role. Instead, there should be more thought about how local communities can have a much greater role in the licensing system, including consideration of how we can get a set of licensing policies in Durham that establishes a balance—allowing, obviously, a limited night-time economy, but also protecting the historic nature of the city and its many residents.”
Responding to these criticisms Ian Thompson, corporate director of regeneration and local services at Durham County Council, gave the following quotes to the local newspaper the Newcastle Chronicle:
"Our award-winning Best Bar None scheme, delivered in partnership with Durham Constabulary and licensed premises, has contributed to us having lower levels of alcohol related incidents in comparison to other cities.
Our licensing policy seeks to balances the legitimate needs of businesses in the county and demand for leisure and cultural activities, alongside the need to protect those who could be adversely affected by licensable activities.
We are currently in the process of reviewing this policy and recently completed public consultation, with all responses including that of Ms Blackman-Woods now receiving careful consideration.”
We shall keep you updated on developments with the new Licensing Policy.