Consultation to start on Broadgreen alcohol licence restriction policy

By Aled Thomas, Local Democracy Reporter

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This shop in Broadgreen had an application for a new Licence Refused Under Cumulative Impact Policy

Licensed businesses, the police, the fire service and others will all be asked if a council policy on restricting the number of off-licences and pubs and clubs in Broadgreen should be kept.

Swindon Borough Council has had a cumulative impact policy for establishments selling alcohol in Broadgreen since 2016. It allows the council as licensing authority to refuse more licences to business on the grounds that there are enough already and more would lead to crime and anti-social behaviour.

Without the policy the council would find it harder to refuse licences on those grounds to applicants in good standing.

The council’s licensing manager Kathryn Ashton told councillors it was a legal requirement to see whether the policy should continue.

She said: “The committee has to decide whether it wants a revised policy to be put out for public consultation. Officers would say we do need the policy.”

Ashton said the policy was supported by Wiltshire Police and public health authorities.

PC Michael Diffin said the force was able to close down six off-licences in about 18 months since the policy was brought in 2016.

“Some were selling illegal tobacco or alcohol under the minimum price or were employing illegal workers. We have had three application for new licences in the last three years and when we asked why they needed the licence it was basically to make the busines viable,” Diffin added.

“When we asked how they would avoid adding to the impact on the local area not once did they come back, they went away.”

He said the police would very much want to see the policy renewed.

One councillor, Bob Wright, who represents Central ward said nearby supermarkets were not included: “I see people walking down the road with cases and bags of drink from the supermarket.”

The committee agreed to put the policy out to public consultation for six weeks from 25 January to March 8.

A committee meeting will be arranged for March to look at whether with will approve a new cumulative impact policy in light of the consultation.