Bury St Edmunds’ town centre licensing laws to be reviewed

St Andrew's Street, which was  highlighted in the report
St Andrew's Street, which was highlighted in the report

Pubs, clubs, bars and takeaways across a wider area of Bury St Edmunds could face tougher licensing laws if new proposals are accepted.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council licensing bosses want to revise the council’s Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP), which has been in place since 2012, and the bylaw has to be updated at least every five years.

The policy governs licensing laws and requires anyone within a designated area applying for a licence, primarily to sell alcohol, or extend their licensable hours, to show the measures they will take to prevent potential increases in noise, disturbance, anti-social behaviour and crime.

A new draft policy proposes expanding the Cumulative Impact Area to include St Andrew’s Street (North and South), Risbygate Street, Cornhill, Buttermarket, and part of St John’s Street.

It follows consultation with current licence owners, businesses, residents, pub trade organisations and a review of crime and disorder statistics.

The statistics show that 80 per cent of incidents, which include anti-social behaviour, crime, public safety and transport, occurred in five of 10 streets in the town centre during 2016/17.

These include Abbeygate Street, Angel Hill, Risbygate Street, St Andrew’s Street and Westgate Street. More than 50 per cent of these incidents occurred in the late evening in St Andrew’s Street.

Though overall incidents remain below those for 2014/15, crime is the only one to have increased across all 10 streets rising from 142 incidents in 2014, to 143 in 2015/16 and 175 in 2016/17.

Suffolk Constabulary licensing officer Michael Bacon said in a witness statement for the report: “Inevitably, when large numbers of intoxicated people come together in a concentrated area, this can and does lead to assaults, damage to property and disturbance for local residents.”

He added: “This compelling evidence supports the proposal to expand the cumulative impact zone to encompass the St Andrew’s Street area.

“I can also say that this area of the town does place a significant demand on police resources during the peak night time economy activity.”

The council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee will meet on October 31 with the proposal then needing to be agreed by the full council.