Norwich alcohol sales ban consultation set for fresh start following public feedback
12:00 19 October 2013
Submitted - Louis Kemp
Potential changes to early morning drinking hours in Norwich will not change until next year after public consultation hearings planned for next week were cancelled.
Norfolk police is seeking to impose Early Morning Restriction Orders (EMROs) in three drinking areas of the city, to try and reduce levels of crime and violence between 3am and 6am.
Norfolk Constabulary had been working with Norwich City Council to see EMROs imposed which would see alcohol sales banned between 3am and 6am between Monday and Friday and 3.45am and 6am on Saturdays and Sundays.
If the proposals were accepted, EMRO 1 would include London Street, Bank Plain, Queens Street, Upper King Street and Tombland.
EMRO 2 would involve Prince of Wales Road, Rose Lane and St Vedas Street and EMRO 3 would cover the Riverside area.
Three hearings were due to be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, each focusing on a different zone, but that has now been cancelled.
Around 45 responses had been sent to the council during the consultation and the amount of issues raised has led to the police wanting to make changes to the EMRO applications.
Detective Superintendent Paul Sanford, said: “The results from the 42 day consultation period show some valid opinions for and against the orders, as well as feedback on specific conditions attached.
“The consultation period was about listening to people’s views and, based on public feedback, we will now look to consult further with the trade with a view to publishing an alternative EMRO which takes the public’s views into account.”
The city council’s licensing committee will now be asked to completely throw out the current EMRO application at its next meeting, on December 12.
A meeting is then likely to be held at City Hall in January to discuss the issues and settle on a new proposal, with police still believing the EMROs are needed to control crime in the city.
A city council spokesman said: “The EMRO consultation was not merely a paper exercise, this was a real consultation. The views expressed have been listened to and the council is acting responsibly in making the decision to go out to consultation again.
“Due to the legal constraints of putting an EMRO in place, the law does not allow us to make even minor amendments to existing proposals therefore we’re proposing to close the current process and begin again.
“It is in the public interest that we get the balance right between the council’s licensing objectives, effective policing of the night time economy, what’s best for businesses trading in this environment and the city as a whole.”