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Bury St Edmunds: No new drink policy near railway station

16:23 13 June 2014

Bury St Edmunds railway station.

Bury St Edmunds railway station.

A licensing policy to offer residents greater protection from drunken behaviour has been rejected for the area near Bury St Edmunds railway station.

Earlier this week a licensing and regulatory committee for St Edmundsbury Borough Council decided not to bring in a “cumulative impact policy” for the Station Hill area. However, it will be reinstated in the town centre.

The policy means anyone applying to open a new licensed premises, or to change their licence for longer hours, will be refused or subject to restrictions unless they can demonstrate their business is unlikely to add to problems of drunken rowdy behaviour and drink-fuelled crime.

Councillor David Nettleton, who represents the Risbygate ward on the borough council, was opposed to bringing in the policy around Station Hill, which had previously been a haunt for nightclub-goers.

He said: “My main reason for opposing it was although it had gone to a consultation with the public they hadn’t asked anybody who lives on Station Hill, Out Northgate and Tayfen Road.”

But a council spokesman said as part of the consultation, the ward councillors, who represent residents, had been contacted, including Mr Nettleton, as well as known residents’ associations, and it was also available on the council’s website. Police, licence-holders and the Ourburystedmunds business group were also consulted.

“Through this approach we feel that we have endeavoured to consult with residents and those elected to represent their views,” the spokesman said.

Mr Nettleton said the worst area in the town for late-night drunken behaviour was the junction of Risbygate Street and St Andrew’s Street in the centre. But he added: “I think the best way to do this is to review a licence if there are complaints.”

Andrew Hunter, who owns the Hunter Club in St Andrew’s Street South, felt the cumulative impact policy was just “another layer of bureaucracy”.

Ourburystedmunds chief executive Mark Cordell said: “Neither the police nor the borough licensing team have spoken to me about any alcohol issues really linked to town centre premises and I would have thought there was sufficient existing licensing [rules] available to deal with any problem premises.”

The Churchgate Area Association (CAA) has backed reinstating the policy in the town centre and extending it to the Station Hill area. CAA chairman Andrew Hinchley said action was “urgently needed” to reduce the problems due to late-night drinking.

A council spokesman said: “The previous policy was not revoked but had expired in January. Councillors representing the Abbeygate ward and members of the community asked us to consider reinstating the policy, which led to the review.”

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