Council could use new powers to stop late-night alcohol sales - with poll
THE city council is considering new powers that could see a ban on late-night alcohol sales in certain areas to curb booze-fuelled anti-social behaviour.
Another option could be to charge venues that want to serve alcohol into the early hours.
The early-morning restriction orders, or Emros, would allow the council to restrict the sale of alcohol in areas it considers there to be a problem with alcohol-related crime and disorder between midnight and 6am.
Once an area is designated, the restriction would apply to all licensed premises.
The council would have to decide the area, days and times the Emro would apply – but New Year's Eve would be exempt.
And the full council would have to agree to putting the order in place.
The second option of the late-night levy would see venues in a designated area charged several hundred or even thousands of pounds a year if they wanted to serve alcohol in the early hours.
Councillor Barbara Jackson is chair of the council's general licensing committee, which is due to look at the options at a meeting tonight.
She said: "We are keen to understand the impact of these new measures and the committee will be asked to approve further research into their possible effect."
For the late-night levy, the charge would depend on the size of the business but, based on the number of eligible venues in Derby, it could bring in £145,000 a year.
Of that, 70% would go to the police while the remaining 30% would go to the city council. The council would be obliged to use that only to address alcohol-related issues in the city.
Council officers have prepared a report for the committee to consider.
It says that the police favour using Emros but that the council needed to consider how an Emro may push alcohol-related problems to neighbouring areas and affect the night-time economy.
Andrew Cochrane, a licensing expert for Flint Bishop Solicitors, questioned the benefits of a night-time levy and also how the council could apply an Emro.
He said: "These are both difficult. With the late-night levy, the council has to ask how much it is actually going to raise from the arrangement because it only gets a small percentage.
"With the Emro, the interesting thing is they have existed in a form for a while because the last government brought in 3am caps which councils could impose on opening and nowhere did. The only difference now is that could be brought forward to midnight.
"The problem is if Derby said its clubs in a certain area have to close at 2am, then people could go to Nottingham or Stoke or even other areas of Derby where it wasn't in force."
He said the levy could push businesses out while the Emro could drive away customers.
But he added that the council was duty-bound to consider the new legislation, though it would not necessarily mean change to the status quo.
The committee meets at Saxon House at 6pm.