Croydon Council has proposed new limits on the number of establishments licensed to sell alcohol in efforts to reduce crime and anti-social behavior in the borough.
The planned crackdown, announced on Tuesday, February 20, would introduce “cumulative impact zones” in 17 of the borough’s 24 wards – selected based on crime figures, health-related statistics such as hospital admissions due to binge drinking, environmental health issues, and complaints from residents and businesses. The policy aims to restrict the number of new alcohol licences.
The policy would work on the presumption that applications for a new licence, or to vary an existing licence, will be refused.
Although Croydon is not the first council to introduce cumulative impact zones, it is the first time these zones have been suggested for such large areas.
Croydon has the seventh highest binge drinking rate of any local authority in England. About 2,300 people attend Croydon University Hospital’s A&E with alcohol-related injuries each year.
Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety and public protection, said: “We will be listening to residents, businesses and licensees during this consultation period and the proposals may well change depending on their views.
“We are looking to introduce cumulative impact zones to help tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in our town centres and make these areas more pleasant for people to visit and work in.”
The proposed new policy is currently in a 12-week consultation period. Following the consultation, the council’s licensing committee will then consider the results. Existing licences will not be affected.
Under the proposed system, business owners seeking applications would need to convince the council that their business would not worsen alcohol related issues in surrounding area.
The 1,094 establishments currently licensed to sell alcohol in Croydon would not be affected and new applications would still need to receive objections before they are rejected or otherwise altered.
The council said that the affected areas would be those with high rates of crime and antisocial behavior and argues that controlling access to alcohol would make these areas safer.