Legislation that makes it more difficult for new bars and pubs to open in Whitby will remain in place against police advice.
Scarborough Council’s Licensing Committee today voted unanimously to retain the town’s Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ).
The councillors based their decision on anecdotal evidence from the public after North Yorkshire Police said there were not enough incidents of crime and disorder to justify renewing the CIZ for a further three years.
A CIZ makes it harder for an applicant to open a new drinking establishment in the area covered by the zone.
A report, written by the council’s senior licensing officer, Mark Heaton, which went before the committee, said the councillors could justify keeping the zone in Whitby.
He wrote: “The statistical data and [crime] hot-spot mapping in respect to the Whitby area provides a picture of steady improvement with significantly less reported crimes and occurrences compared to the Scarborough area.
“As such North Yorkshire Police made a recommendation that the Whitby CIZ be rescinded.
“However, in addition to the evidence provided by North Yorkshire Police a strong response was received to the public consultation which raised the following key concerns: A significant under-reporting of offences including anti-social behaviour and violent crime; a number of lower level unreported occurrences taking place within the existing area but outside the key hot-spots of Baxtergate, Wellington Road and Langbourne Road [and] existing and excessive public drunkenness both during the night and daytime economies.”
In total, more than 250 people responded to the consultation on Whitby alone, with 79.9% of them stating the CIZ should not be removed.
In asking for the CIZ to be removed North Yorkshire Police pointed to the reduction in crimes in Whitby.
When the policy was introduced in 2006 there were some 200 reported violent incidents, compared to 79 in 2016/17.
However, Cllr Jane Mortimer (Con) told today’s meeting that the reduction could be down to under-reporting.
She said: “I do wonder if [the reduction in crimes] is due to people not reporting them. Maybe it is the 101 police number, as calls sometimes never get answered and people don’t want to call 999.”
Cllr Neil Price (Lab) added: “It is clear from the representations we get from the public to applications in Whitby that a lot of crimes are going unreported.”
A number of councillors also used the meeting to raise concerns over the rise in micro-pubs, which often crop up in vacant shops in the borough’s main towns of Scarborough, Whitby and Filey and how the impact would be monitored going forward.
Cllr Godfrey Allanson (Con) said: “It may be alright now but I think in the future we may need to look at it, and the Government may need to look at it. It was always difficult to open a pub but you can buy a shop now and apply for it to sell alcohol just in one room. I think it’s going to be a problem this committee will have to face.”
The new policy of the CIZ will be reviewed until it is up for renewal in 2022.
As part of the review, Falsgrave Road in Scarborough will not be added to the town’s CIZ following responses from the public. Some roads in Scarborough have also been removed from the town’s CIZ.
The recommendations of the licensing committee will go to the council’s cabinet and full council meetings next year to be signed off.