Booze-ban zone in South Shields town centre will be extended

Fowler Street is included in the plans to tighten licensing restrictions.
Fowler Street is included in the plans to tighten licensing restrictions.

An enforcement zone to tackle booze-fuelled crime in South Tyneside is to be extended.

Plans to tighten licensing restrictions in South Shields town centre to stop anti social crime and disorder have been approved by members of South Tyneside Council and are set to come into force next month.

The extension to the existing zone was given the go-ahead by the full council at Jarrow Town Hall.

The zone restricts new licensed premises from opening, and limits applications for extended hours from existing businesses.

The South Shields Town Centre’s Cumulative Impact Policy zone already incorporates 25 licensed premises in Anderson Street North, Coston Drive, Mile End Road and part of King Street and Ocean Road.

However, councillors have now approved plans to expand the area to take in the stretch between Fowler Street, Anderson Street and up to Beach Road, and to include hot food takeaways, open between 11pm and 5am.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety, says the number of pubs, clubs and takeaways in the town centre can ‘lead to problems of crime and disorder’.

She said: “As the council renews its Licensing Act Policy, it is important to take into account the rise in the number of licensed premises and activity within the special policy area.

“The type, capacity and density of pubs, clubs, restaurants and hot food takeaways can lead to problems of crime and disorder, anti-social behaviour and nuisance.

“The link between alcohol and crime and disorder is well documented, not to mention the impact of alcohol on people’s health and on the emergency services.”

Under the plans – which have put forward as part of the renewal of the council’s licensing policy – applications for new licensed premises or extensions to opening hours in this zone would generally be refused due to the potential negative impact on licensing objectives.

The revised licensing policy will also incorporate mandatory conditions, which have become set in law over recent years in relation to irresponsible drinks promotions, age verification policies, provision of free drinking water, the offer of smaller measures of alcohol and prohibition of sales at below cost price.