Councillors seek to tighten up alcohol licensing rules for Brighton and Hove

Tighter controls on alcohol licensing could be brought in across Brighton and Hove after a debate yesterday on Thursday (26 November).

The policy changes could affect café owners who want to sell alcohol as well as anyone wanting a licence for premises in a local shopping parade.

And more roads could be brought within an area designated a “special stress area” by Brighton and Hove City Council where licence applications face tougher scrutiny.

The council’s Licensing Committee wants to extend the special stress area north along Preston Road and Beaconsfield Road, Brighton, between Preston Circus and Stanford Avenue.

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The special stress area currently covers a swathe of Brighton and Hove from Sackville Road and Hove Street in the west to Bedford Street in the east and as far inland as the Vogue gyratory.

Even tougher rules apply to an area known as the cumulative impact area, covering the busy central seafront area.

The cumulative impact area includes West Street, Queen’s Road, North Street, East Street and St James’s Street – and stretches inland to Brighton station and St Peter’s Church.

The Licensing Committee approved its amended licensing policy but the policy will need to be agreed at a full council meeting next month before it takes effect.

The changes are modest but a proposal to restrict new café licences to a 10pm closing time – rather than 11pm – stirred debate.

Licensing manager Jim Whitelegg and legal adviser Rebecca Sidell urged councillors not to insist that cafés shut earlier than pubs, where crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour were more common.

But Labour Jackie O’Quinn and Conservative councillor Dee Simson said that too often applicants said that they wanted a drinks licence for a café when they intended to run a bar.

Councillor Simson welcomed the change to the rules governing local shopping parades which she had sought.

Premises licence applications could be refused in areas where there are already several existing outlets selling beers, wines and spirits.

Councillor Simson said: “One of the things I’ve had concerns about has been how our small shopping parades in our outlying areas have become awash with alcohol sales.

“We may have quite a small parade of shops that’s got an off-licence, a post office, a convenience store and sometimes even something else, a fish and chip shop, all selling alcohol – and that will be taken into consideration now.”

The full council will be asked to approve the proposed changes at a “virtual” meeting on Thursday 17 December.

  1. Valerie Reply

    What kind of lifestyle does the City project? Louche, party, stag & hen drunken blowout, heavily alcoholic? What kind of people are drawn to live that way? Policies need to help shape the norms, standards and prosperity of a place, to make it attractive to people most in control of their lifestyle in a healthy, non addictive way; & right now this city is just that bit too attractive to the excess-inclined incapable of socialising without alcohol at the heart of relating or who ‘self-medicate’ with huge amounts of alcohol. Step back. Its a killer.

  2. Maggie Rea Reply

    As someone who did ‘step back, from the brink I totally agree.
    People should ask themselves ‘can I stop and try it for a week or a month.
    But too many people have troubles they would rather forget and no one to talk too, no support.
    But for sure it definitely brings the tone of the city down.
    But no one cares, certainly not our council.
    I do agree. IT’S A KILLER.

  3. Nigel Furness Reply

    Well said, Jackie and Dee of the Licensing Panel—this just getts better!
    And thank you Valerie, for a beautifully-crafted post—sums-up the situation perfectly.

  4. James Reply

    As a grown up who has lived in Brighton and Hove, I don’t recognize the above comments “Louche, party, stag & hen drunken blowout”and can only assume the author either doesn’t live locally or is misinformed.
    Firstly, while hen parties are commonplace, stag parties appear rare. As for louche description, any popular world city could be described negatively in this way. I’m fairly well informed having lived next door to Brighton’s most popular hotel venues for hen parties.
    I’m assuming Val was young once or can’t remember when she was. 😀

    • Rolivan Reply

      Alcohol consumption have always been a part of Brighton and Hove culture.At one time there were over 400 Pubs in what is now the City.If there wasnt a shop on the corner of most streets then there was usually a pub.With The introduction of stricter Drink Driving Laws more people now drink at home and you only have to look at how big the Alcohol section is at Supermarkets to see how big the market is.I think these people that sit on the Licensing Panel have to be very careful in their decision making remembering that they are there for a relatively short time.
      I come from a Family on my Mothers side that in most cases were very heavy drinkers and have seen at first hand what Alcohol can do.Surely businesses should be able to given the chance to trade and if they mess up then take away their license like what has happened recently but please do not use those people as an excuse to stop others.

      • Nigel Furness Reply

        Sorry, Rolivan, I usually agree with most of your common sense views expressed here as I’m also a true Brightonian but I must assure you, as an ex-Publican that I bear NO malice towards sensibly-run pubs—the very reverse, in fact.
        Country pubs undoubtedly suffered from the late Transport Minister, Barbara Castle’s Introduction of the Breathaliser in 1965 but the biggest single contributor to the crisis afflicting urban pubs such as those in our City is the 2007 smoking ban (another preposterous idea from the EUROPEAN UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS, don’t you know)!
        Additionally, with the exception of a bit of tweaking in recent years, government after government has remorselessly increased the tax levies payable on ALL alcoholic drinks sold in pubs but NOT those sold In SUPERMARKETS—hardly a level playing field!
        Now throw-in the ABSURD Pub-related covid measures and we see how the current ‘Lack of Government’ has added the final ingredient to the perfect storm—DELIBERATELY and MALICIOUSLY designed to kill-off our great, British boozers (STILL the envy of the world), ONCE AND FOR ALL!
        And WHY, we may ask, would they want to do that?
        CLUE: “plotters in smoke-filled back rooms”— that oft’ repeated, 17th Century phrase which refers to Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators drawing-up their cunning plan in the back room of a TAVERN!
        Yes—you’ve got it! OPINIONS ( not least tose of a political nature) begin at the very grass roots of society with people meeting and talking amongst themselves, this being particularly in pubs, where they can relax and put the world to rights, so to speak, and from these humble beginnings they make their way right up to the highest echelons in the land, amongst them Parliament.
        Reflect, for a moment on the fact that, save for (thankfully) the ever-growing band of Back-bench, rebel Tory MPs, all the others are perfectly content to collaborate against the British people’s fundamental RIGHTS of Assembly and Freedom of speech, for if they’re allowed to get away with perpetrating this OUTRAGE for much longer, our beloved pubs will be gone and those WICKED politicians will be celebrating all their Christmases at once.
        THEN watch the booze prices shoot up at those supermarkets and off-licences!!

  5. Rolivan Reply

    How many coffee shops are there in the City now Nigel,perhaps that is where people now go to meet and perhaps they should pay more taxes?

    • Nigel Furness Reply

      Oh, don’t worry Rolivan, once the pubs are gone THEY WILL be paying more taxes and it will be done, as before, under the guise of ‘NANNY STATE’ preaching from on high as to the the evils of CAFFEINE CONSUMPTION and the need for ‘HEALTH TAXES’ in order to save us from ourselves!
      And yes, lots of people DO now, meet-up in coffee shops but there are two problems with this, one being that these premises, in large part, provide pretty limited space and the other being that they close far too early for the average working person to be able to frequent for a ‘spot of plotting.’

  6. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    An upside of the current situation is table service in pubs rather than having to stand at a bar and wait. It would be pleasing if this were to continue as it makes for a better atmosphere.

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