Calls for limits on Walsall off-licences to control booze-fuelled trouble

Calls have been made to impose stricter rules across Walsall to limit the number of off-licences in areas blighted by alcohol-related trouble.

There are concerns about alcohol-related trouble in Walsall. Photo: David Cheskin/PA Wire
There are concerns about alcohol-related trouble in Walsall. Photo: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Residents and senior councillors in the town said a ‘culmulative impact policy’ – such as one which currently covers the town centre – would help alleviate issues suffered.

Cumulative impact looks at the effect a number of licensed premises in one area could have on people’s wellbeing and Walsall’s current one covers the WS1 postcode.

But Councillor Aftab Nawaz told the authority’s licensing and safety committee that other areas would benefit from a borough-wide policy being adopted.

The committee was considering results of a consultation into a draft statement of licensing policy, which only garnered a paltry 14 responses from the public.

But of those who did reply, the majority strongly agreed with cumulative impact policies with some saying it should be extended.

When asked which areas, one replied "Palfrey and Caldmore – due to on street drink related problems", while another said: "Definately WS3 Blakenall as so much trouble within this area."

Other areas put forward included the district centres such as Bloxwich, Willenhall and Aldridge as well as Darlaston, Pleck and Paddock.

Not all agreed, however, with one person saying: “It’s my belief that this prevents businesses from opening new start ups in Walsall and therefore slows down the economy. Many councils have suspended theirs, specifically because of this reason.”

Councillor Nawaz said: “When we look at the cumulative impact policy, why are we just sticking to WS1 and why aren’t we doing this across the borough?

“There will be places where people have concerns that there are too many off licences and other establishments.

“It becomes a two-tier system if we only stick to WS1. Cumulative impact would be on any area where you have too many of these establishments.”

He added: “I think it’s a bit back-to-front if we are waiting for a problem to be created before we put a policy in.

“Surely, we want to create a policy before we get to the stage where there are too many off licences or other establishments.

“I don’t see an issue having a policy which covers the whole borough because it only impacts once people start putting too many establishments in an area.”

Licensing team leader Sayful Alom said they based the policy on data provided by the police and other responsible authorities and, to date, only WS1 had been listed as a high priority area.

But he added the policy would be reviewed every three years and other areas could be added if there was justification for them.

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