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West Suffolk Council launches consultation on Bury St Edmunds alcohol licensing policy




Is a current alcohol licensing policy in Bury St Edmunds working? That is the question town centre residents and licensees are being asked by West Suffolk Council.

A consultation has been launched to decide whether to retain the current policy, which was designed to help businesses while reducing the impact of anti-social behaviour on the town centre

It applies to a cumulative impact area covering the Churchgate and Station Hill areas of the town.

Alcohol licensing consultation by West Suffolk Council
Alcohol licensing consultation by West Suffolk Council

The current policy means businesses applying for increased alcohol trading hours must provide evidence of their plan to manage the impact on the community.

It was introduced for the historic core in 2014 and renewed in 2017 with a slightly larger footprint to cover the Station Hill area. Under law, it will lapse if not renewed within three years.

West Suffolk Council, as licensing authority, is gathering evidence from the public and trade to support a decision on whether it should be retained.

Cllr John Griffiths, council leader, said: “The policy was introduced when the effect of our growing evening economy was being felt in quiet residential streets and, some argue, has been one of the many reasons Bury has established such a strong reputation for good food and entertainment.

“This is, of course, not ideal timing given the pandemic and quite how the future will pan out in some respects is unknown. However, unless we consult now the policy will lapse by default and any value it could continue to deliver will be lost.

“The evidence we are calling for from the trade and the public is the value they believe the policy has and can deliver. For businesses, this may include operational or competitive factors. For the public it may concern alcohol related anti-social behaviour and their predisposition to support the local evening economy.”

Go to www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/consultations before August 17 to contribute to the consultation.

A decision will be made by the cabinet later this year.


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