New licensing proposal

First published in News

A NEW licensing policy is being proposed for Salisbury city centre to keep a lid on crime and antisocial behaviour.

The streets most densely populated with bars, clubs, restaurants and takeaways will be designated a ‘cumulative impact area’ under the plan.

Within that area there will be a “presumption in favour of rejecting” applications for new licences or major variations of existing licences such as later opening hours.

These will only be granted in exceptional circumstances if “good reasons” can be shown.

The scheme follows a survey of public opinion, including groups such as Pubwatch, and a study of crime and antisocial behaviour figures by Wiltshire Council.

Out of 66 members of the public who responded, 28 said the fear of trouble stops them going in to the centre at night, and 39 blamed crime and disorder on the customers of takeaways and bars.

Only 24 said they visited licensed premises in the city after 10pm, and only nine who replied were in the under-34 age group.

Although 35 people thought the streets were “safe and pleasant”, overall three-quarters wanted a cumulative impact area set up.

The most popular restrictions they would like to see are restricted hours for takeaways and alcohol sales, more door staff at late bars and takeaways, street marshals, a ban on glasses and glass bottles late at night, and a requirement for pubs and clubs to have a dispersal policy.

Police data show Salisbury has a higher proportion of antisocial behaviour and crime than Chippenham or Trowbridge.

In the year to March there were more than 800 incidents of ‘nuisance’ behaviour and 200 incidents of violence.

In March itself there were 127 crimes in the central area, and 65 incidents of antisocial behaviour.

The council’s licensing committee will consider the scheme on Monday (June 2). If approved, it would still need to be agreed by the full council in the autumn.

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