Council set to say enough is enough as outlets selling alcohol soars to 70 in Wisbech town centre

Wisbech town centre. Market Place

Wisbech town centre. Market Place - Credit: Archant

A PRESUMPTION against new applications for drinks licences will be introduced in Wisbech if councillors approve the policy later this month.

Wisbech Town Centre, High Street

Wisbech Town Centre, High Street - Credit: Archant

Within the town there are some 70 pubs, cafes, restaurants, off-licences, and hotels where you can get a drink- and Medworth ward has 43 of them.

Wisbech town centre. Bridge Street and the High Street

Wisbech town centre. Bridge Street and the High Street - Credit: Archant

Now Fenland District Council licensing committee will vote on whether to accept the recommendation of a public consultation to make it much tougher for new licences to be approved.

A police report to the committee shows that whilst total violent crime, criminal damage and anti social behaviour in Wisbech town centre has decreased in recent years, alcohol related crimes and incidents have increased.

The report says that “alcohol related issues are currently a significant problem in Wisbech town centre”.

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Pub clusters – groups of three or more pubs or clubs within 100 metres of each other- in Wisbech were second only to central Cambridge in the county for the number of violent offences committed in the past year.

Ambulance call out figures also shows Wisbech town centre “is the primary location for victims of violent assault within Fenland”.

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Kim Winterton, licensing team leader, will tell the committee on May 14 that there is almost unanimous support for introducing a cumulative impact assessment policy.

This will mean any new applications would be refused unless it can be proven it would not have a negative impact.

Public consultation between December and March attracted 27 responses, she said, with 21 being from local residents.

“99.9 per cent of respondents have agreed that a special policy should be adopted within the proposed area,” she says.

“Many comments give street drinking, littering, anti social behaviour and fear of intimidation as the reason for their response.”

If the committee agrees to bring in the new policy it will go to full council for ratification.

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