A new bid to keep a lid on booze-fuelled trouble in South Shields town centre has been unveiled.
Plans have been drawn up to extend a ‘special policy’ area which restricts new licensed premises from opening – and clamps down on bids for extended hours from existing outlets.
Currently, a policy is in place which oversees such bids at the very heart of the town centre, incorporating 25 licensed premises in Anderson Street North, Coston Drive, Mile End Road, part of King Street and Ocean Road.
But, if adopted, the new policy would include not just licensed premises but also hot food takeaways open between 11pm and 5am in a much-extended area up Anderson Street to Beach Road, across to Fowler Street and down to the junction of Mile End Road and Ocean Road, impacting for the first time on such popular venues at Trocaderos and the new Mambos restaurant.
The move comes amid fears that the number of pubs, restaurants, clubs and hot food takeaways in the town centre has reached saturation point.
Northumbria Police is supporting the boundary extension, which is based on statistics identifying ‘hotspots’ for crime, anti-social behaviour, litter and noise.
Takeaways can be a focus of troubleSuzanne Wallace
If implemented the policy would mean there would be a “presumption” that an application for a new licensed premises or an extension to opening hours would not be granted if the council received objections, particularly from the police.
Members of the council’s licensing and regulatory committee are to consider the policy extension when they meet on Friday.
A report to the committee says: “Since the adoption of the last policy it is recognised there has been an increase in the number and activity of additional premises operating in the vicinity of the special policy area.
“The cumulative effects of the additional premises, which are largely takeaway premises, has had a negative impact on the licensing objectives and the council accepts it is necessary and appropriate to extend the special policy area.
“The licensing authority is of the opinion that the adoption of the special policy will ensure that crime levels within this mixed residential and commercial area remain lower than they would be without the policy applying.”
Evidence used to form the policy has included concerns over public nuisance, not only from the premises themselves, but the fallout from the departure of customers late at night talking, shouting and slamming doors.
And it is known that the levels of incidents peak on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings – when a greater number of licensed premises are open.
The council reports adds: “The type, capacity and density of licensed premises leads to problems of crime and disorder, anti-social behaviour and nuisance caused by customers of the licensed premises both in the vicinity of the town centre and further afield and takeaway outlets become a focus for disorder, nuisance and often violence.
“Alcohol is an increasing casual factor in crime and disorder in South Tyneside, both outside and inside the home environment, and additionally, it is having an increasingly significant effect on health problems experienced by residents in the borough, including cancer, heart disease, strokes and liver disease.
“The cost of tackling these issues, including lost productivity, is substantial.”
The licensing and regulatory committee is to meet at South Shields Town Hall from 10am on Friday.