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.
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.
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