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Alcohol licences in York to be restricted

Limits to alcohol licensing in York's city centre will be put in effect to reduce problems caused by "excessive drinking".

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Photo Credit: Wouter Marra
Photo Credit: Wouter Marra

The number of off-licences in York is set to be reduced following efforts by Safer York Partnership to cut down "anti-social behaviour linked to alcohol".

Details of the new restrictions, including how many shops will be allowed licences, hours in which alcohol can be sold and the sale of higher-percentage volume alcohol, are to be determined. Constraints to the number of licensed premises in York are already in place.

Tanya Lyon, Crime Reduction Manager from the partnership told Nouse: "Due to the increasing amount of 'alcohol loading' being reported by door staff (purchase of alcohol in off-licences to drink in pubs and clubs), Safer York Partnership has expressed concern at the growing number of medium sized supermarkets, licensed to sell alcohol in the city centre.

"Work is currently ongoing to address this issue."

These restrictions follow a recent health overview of York's "night-time economy" by the City of York Council, analysing effects of alcohol-fuelled behaviour on York Hospital's A&E resources.

Briefing on the issue has in particular linked "irresponsible" drinks promotions with a rise in the belief that York has a "drunken yob culture". To combat problems associated with "excessive drinking", the council is proposing a late night levy on holders of premises licences and club premises certificates that supply alcohol between the hours of midnight and 6am. A draft of the final report is expected in January.

Around 14,000 people visit the city centre between 6pm-5am every week, with "peak time" for A&E patients between midnight and 2am.

Whether this damages York's economy remains unclear. Noise and antisocial behaviour supposedly cause various hotels to have "poor visitor ratings", and the city's nightlife problems are said to put families and certain visitors off. However, official tourist agency Visit York said there wasn't evidence to determine excessive drinking as the cause.

George Offer, YUSU Welfare Officer said: "It's great to see the council working to tackle the situation in the city. The initiative is not aimed directly at students, but their efforts to make the city safer at night and cut down on drinks being taken into clubs is beneficial to everyone living in York."

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