Saturday, 19 July 2008

A reply to Mr Webb

To save me from replying to the BFP letters page, here are my thoughts between Mr Webb's lines:

I must take issue with two points raised in the letter from councillors Farmer and Rout (Bury Free Press, July 11), concerning proposed changes to licensing in the 'historic core'. Firstly, they state that '. . . if implemented, it (the proposal for new licensing measures) will ensure that there will be no later opening hours or new premises in this area, except those which will not add to the cumulative impact of the existing licences'. Surely, this merely maintains the status quo, which is what I understood the residents of the area to be unhappy with in the first place.

No Mr Webb. According to the Licensing Act 2003, the status quo is that the consideration of later hours or new premises does not take into account the cumulative impact of existing licences. Only if an area is designated in the way Cllr Richard Rout and I have proposed, can this be altered.

Secondly, in the same letter, the councillors further claim that, should new or altered licences be requested '. . . it will be up to them (the licensees) now to show this will not increase alcohol-related problems, instead of residents having to show it will'. How does one prove a negative?

By offering practical measures and arguments aimed to avoid adding to the cumulative effect in the area. For example, a new establishment may be a restaurant closing by midnight, thereby claiming not to add to the area's problems in the early hours.

What exactly does the Churchgate Area Association and its allied councillors actually want?

We are not 'allied' to any organisation but try to help and represent as many of our residents as possible. The CAA and we (and many others) want licence applicants to show they have thought about, and can put into effect practical measures, which do not add to the area's alcohol fuelled problems.

Martin Webb, Hospital Road, Bury St Edmunds.

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