Licence bid – fears over application

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FEARS have been raised about increased crime and disorder that could arise if changes are made to licensing conditions for the planned JD Weatherspoon due to open in the Corn Exchange in Bury St Edmunds.

On Tuesday, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Licensing Act sub-committee is being asked to vary the premises licence to increase licensing hours and remove the Code of Conduct for Responsible Retailing.

Suffolk Police and Bury St Edmunds Town Council have objected to the removal of the code and raised concerns about public disorder while the Churchgate Area Association is concerned at changes to the proposed hours of opening.

These would, in effect, bring opening hours into line with the existing planning consent already granted by the council.

Suffolk Police have opposed the granting of the application on the grounds of the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, prevention of public nuisance and protection of children from harm.

They state that the removal of the code of conduct would also remove the majority of control measures.

The location of the Corn Exchange means the premises would be well attended by the public and the police are concerned that removal of the code without replacing it with any other conditions would contribute to an increase in crime and disorder.

Bury Town Council is also concerned that removing the code would increase the liklihood of vandalism, anti-social behaviour, drunkeness and disorderly behaviour, littering and noise nuisance.

Churchgate Area Association says that the number of people attracted to Weatherspoons will be substantial.

The Corn Exchange was originally licenced by fire regulations for 600 people and the association says that even half that number will double the nunber of people leaving public houses in the town centre. This will have a ‘dramatic effect’ on the town in terms of increased public nuisance, says their letter.

It is also asking for assurances that there will be adequate staffing to control customers including appropriate door staff as well as adequate controls to ensure that deliveries do not disturb residents and pedestrians.

The pub company is asking that it can sell alcohol between 9am and 11.30pm Sunday to Thursday and from 9am to 00.30am on Fridays and Saturdays.