Thursday, June 4, 2020

News: Over the limit? Wickersley pub restrictions approved


Councillors in Rotherham have approved proposals that could limit the number of new or varied alcohol licences being granted in the popular Wickersley area of Rotherham.

The authority has been pouring over new national guidance in order to serve up a new licensing policy. Following consultation, it was discussed and approved at a virtual full Council meeting this week.

The overdue statement of licensing policy is required as the council is responsible for licensing the sale of alcohol, hot food and various events. It includes proposals for a Cumulative Impact Policy which details that an area of Wickersley village is proposed to become a Cumulative Impact Zone.

The zone could limit the number of new or varied licences being granted in the area, dependent on the individual merit of each application. As reported by Rothbiz, the council has previously restricted the number of pubs and venues by using planning policies and refusing to allow current and new drinking establishments to take on empty retail units.

A report to the Council states: "The Council have assessed statistics from the police, ambulance service, environmental health and public health for an area designated in Wickersley, which has determined that the zone is suffering from the cumulative impact of on-licensed, and on and off licensed premises.

"In this area, there are problems surrounding anti-social behaviour, low-level crime, public nuisance including noise and ambulance related alcohol call outs in a mainly residential area. These problems are being suffered by the people living within this area.

"It would be inconsistent with the Council's duty to promote the licensing objectives to grant new, or variations to, applications for any premises which seeks to apply for an on-premises licence, or on and off premises licence."


The Council is keen to make clear that the policy does not create a ban on the grant of licenses within Wickersley but an applicant "must be able to demonstrate to the Council and other responsible authorities that granting a new or varied licence will not add to the cumulative impact already being experienced within the area."

There are currently nineteen premises within Wickersley. In total, sixteen premises are located along a 300 metre section of Bawtry Road. It is explained that the area does not have the required infrastructure to deal with a large and sustained night-time economy and residents have cited noise nuisance from premises as a key issue, alongside issues with street scene such as broken glass, fouling and vomiting.

The zone stretches along Bawtry Road from Wickersley School to close to Sledegate Lane at Listerdale. It extends North encompassing the housing estates off Northfield Lane and South either side of Morthern Road to Sorby Way and Wood Lane. The council's cabinet overturned a recommendation from its own scrutiny board that would have restricted the zone to the area north of Bawtry Road.

Opposition councillor Allen Cowles called the policy discriminatory and accused the Council of allowing Wickerlsey to become the nightlife capital of Rotherham, moving away from the town centre.

Despite crime, anti-social behaviour and environmental health rates being at their highest in the town centre, the policy does not propose a limit on licensed premises here. The council concludes: "Taking a decision to implement a zone may detract from the overarching ambition of regenerating the Town Centre and attracting new businesses, increasing footfall and diversifying the current offer."

The town centre masterplan focuses on leisure and residential uses rather than retail and proposals for Forge Island include eight screen cinema, a 69 bed hotel and four restaurants.

Cllr. Emma Hoddinott, cabinet member for community safety, said: "What makes Wickersley different is that it is more residential than the town centre. We have some residential properties very, very near to some large licensed premises and this is about trying to get the balance right. So people can go out and enjoy themselves - it is a nice evening out in Wickersley, there are some really nice venues - but also making sure that we balance that against the impact on residents."

Images: Google Maps


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