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How is the new Cumulative Impact Zone affecting applications for Premises Licences in central York?

How is the new Cumulative Impact Zone affecting applications for Premises Licences in central York?

City of York Council’s latest City Centre Special Policy Statement that was issued in March of this year has extended the area of central York where there will be a starting presumption that an application for the grant of new Premises Licence will be rejected unless the applicant can rebut the likelihood that the granting of the Licence would undermine the Licensing objectives (and in particular the prevention of crime and disorder).  This area is what is known as a Cumulative Impact Zone.

Group Of Friends Outdoors Enjoying Drink In Pub GardenAttention to the scourge of excessive drinking in the city centre has previously been focused on the western side of the river Ouse and the notorious “Micklegate run” but times have changed.

The clear movement of trade/business across to the area running from Stonegate (near the Minster) through to Fossgate (taking in Back Swinegate, Little Stonegate, Swinegate and Kings Square) has led to this extension of the Zone area.  This should in theory have led to a reduction in the number of new Premises Licence being granted but this has not been the case so far, despite the commonly held view that the applications for what are now The Hop on Fossgate and The Duke of York on Kings Square, which just pre-dated the creation of the new Zone, would spell the end of successful large applications.  These have in fact been followed by the former Army & Navy Stores at the top of Fossgate and the large Carluccio’s premises in the Coppergate centre – despite opposition from the police.

A further application for 31 Fossgate by Ambiente Tapas (for 150 covers) is pending at present and this is not being opposed by the police.  The odds are that it will be successful as well.

Two couples having dinner at restaurant

This last application is for a proper restaurant rather than a bar/restaurant (which is often a euphemism for a bar that pretends to be a restaurant as well) and the sit-down food trade is clearly important at Carluccio’s.  It could be argued that, going forward, operators who are going to concentrate very heavily on supplying food to customers who are sitting down are best placed to succeed with their applications.  It is clear that what City of York Council and the police are strongly opposed to is “vertical drinking” – i.e. people standing up in bars/pubs/restaurants.

One of the next properties that is likely to be considered under the licensing process is 11 Little Stonegate, York.  This is right in the heart of the new primary leisure circuit in York and the applicants there can expect stern resistance from the police (and great reluctance to grant a Premises Licence from the local authority) if there is any significant element of vertical drinking proposed.  The owners of a number of other properties will watch the outcome of this application with great interest.