Town’s plans on tougher rules for new off-licences to be put to the public
- Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC
A plan to make it harder to open off-licences in a town has been pushed back - so that the public can have their say first.
The Safer Thetford Action Group (Stag) and Breckland Police have been campaigning to put extra measures in place to curb more off-licences opening in Thetford through the creation of a Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP) within the licensing policy.
Currently if an application is made for an alcohol licence, unless there is an objection from a relevant party, the licence will be awarded. If a CIP is put in place the applicant will have to explain how they will uphold the licensing objectives created in the CIP.
The CIP is aimed at cracking down on street drinking which Stag says has become an issue in the town. The applicant would have to prove how they would prevent crime and disorder, public nuisances, consider public safety and protect children from harm.
Thetford currently has a public spaces protection order (PSPO) that covers the town centre. The CIP would only affect applications in this area and it would only apply to off-licences.
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It was put to Breckland Council at its recent licensing committee meeting where it was suggested for approval by the committee of the licensing authority but a full public consultation must also be carried out first.
Thetford and Breckland councillor Roy Brame said it is something that would not hurt the town.
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He said: "The fear was that we may have prevented things happening in our town.
"We didn't want to not be able to open shops by putting something in the way, resulting in empty shops. But with what we have done for off-sales it is a good thing.
"It's not a hammer to crack a nut, and everyone who is going to want a licence will have the choice, it's not something that says you can't open."
A Stag report said there are 98 licensed premises within Thetford including pubs, restaurants and off-licences. It also claims that irresponsible selling is on the increase with drunk people able to buy more alcohol.