Time called on new pubs to tackle town’s disorder

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NEW licensing regulations aim to help tackle alcohol-fuelled problems in a seaside town.

North Tyneside Council has agreed to a ‘cumulative impact policy’ for the busiest drinking area of Whitley Bay – bordered by Promenade, Park Avenue, Marden Road, Station Road, Whitley Road and Percy Road.

Council officials – backed by police and residents – hope the new strategy will reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder as new pubs and licences will have to prove why they should be given approval to open within the area.

Mayor Linda Arkley said: “I want Whitley Bay to be known as a family-friendly seaside town, and this can only be achieved by tackling anti-social behaviour.

“Our aim is to make Whitley Bay a safer place for both residents and visitors to enjoy, and if establishing such a policy does this, then it is something we are happy to support.”

Evidence gathered by Northumbria Police proved that the number and concentration of licensed premises in the area was having a detrimental effect on the prevention of crime and disorder and public nuisance.

Statistics showed that in that particular area, 68 per cent of crime was committed under the influence of alcohol, and in South Parade there were 255 arrests for drunk and disorderly behaviour in the last year.

A third of all crime in the area is violent crime, and three quarters of that was committed between a Thursday night and a Sunday night.

Inspector Jim Gray, of Whitley Bay neighbourhood policing team, said: “We welcome the introduction of this new policy as we believe it will help us to continue to prevent crime and disorder and is in the best interests of the local community.

“In Whitley Bay we currently have certain areas which already have a high concentration of licensed premises.

“These areas require police and partner agencies to spend time and resources on them to make sure the public are in a safe environment and licensing regulations are enforced.

“By taking into account the ‘cumulative impact’ which may arise from such a concentration of premises the committee can require licence applicants to demonstrate that there is a need for another new premises and its location will not have a negative impact in a particular area.

“The licensing committee can then take this broader view into account when deciding whether or not it is appropriate to add another license premises in the area.”

Once adopted, the new cumulative impact policy will be reviewed on a regular basis.