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Council to remove all cumulative impact policies in August but may reinstate one for city centre

Bristol City Council is to scrap its cumulative impact policies on alcohol licensing after police said many of them were unnecessary.

This will leave the city centre without a cumulative impact policy from 1 August pending the outcome of a further public consultation, but will remove the policies altogether in a number of areas.

The policies are used in areas with a high concentration of licensed premises where additional grants of licences might exacerbate problems of public disorder.

A council meeting this month approved the further consultation for the city centre but removing from this the Broadmead area, following police advice.

Councillors approved recommendations in a report which said: “Evidence received in relation to the existing cumulative impact areas located outside of the centre is insufficient to support their retention.

“In addition, in their response, Avon and Somerset Constabulary state that these cumulative impact areas are no longer a necessary requirement.”

This removes the policy from the Clifton, Gloucester Road, Whiteladies Road and Bedminster and Southville areas.

The report noted that the policies could be introduced only “if there is evidence to show it is warranted, it cannot be aspirational”.

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 placed “a greater burden of responsibility on the licensing authority to justify implementing cumulative impact areas”.

A council working group felt there was sufficient evidence to justify a city centre cumulative impact area as it had a significant concentration of alcohol-led late night venues and “a high number of police-related incidents and other related crime and disorder”.

The further consultation was intended to allow for assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on the area’s hospitality sector.

“This does mean that no cumulative impact area will be in place for the city centre from 1 August 2020,” the report said.

"However the council’s statement of licensing policy makes it clear that the cumulative impact of licensed premises can still be taken into account irrespective of the absence of a policy.”

Mark Smulian

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