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Calls for tougher rules on alcohol licenses in Leeds

Selling alcohol in Harehills could become more difficult if Leeds City Council proposals go through.
Selling alcohol in Harehills could become more difficult if Leeds City Council proposals go through.

People in Leeds have been asked to have their say on plans to tighten alcohol licensing rules in certain parts of the city.

Consultation has started on Leeds City Council plans to introduce a Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP) in Harehills – where drinking has been linked to the area’s high crime rate.

There are also plans to alter existing CIPs in Headingley, Chapel Allerton and Horsforth.

A CIP places a limit placed on the number of new licensed premises, and the council’s licensing authority must assess the community impact of applications for new bars and off licences.

This usually makes it more difficult for applications to be accepted.

Harehills does not currently have a CIP, but plans put forward in the consultation propose introducing one in the area.

But Coun Arif Hussain, who represents the area, wants a ban on new alcohol licenses altogether.

“We are completely opposed to any more (alcohol licences),” he said. “(It causes) a number of issues like more antisocial behaviour.

“We are getting so many complaints from local residents of people drinking outside shops. It makes families’ lives hard. They are fighting and singing songs at night.”

He added that the tightening of licensing rules in Armley – which the plans propose keeping in place – should be replicated in Harehills.

Plans to introduce a CIP in Harehills were revealed at a council meeting last month.

Council officer Susan Holden told the meeting: “Harehills is a densely populated area–there is a corner shop on the end of every terraced street.

“The thought of each one of them becoming a licensed premises is really worrying.”

One area which currently has a CIP is Headingley. The plans include making the zone smaller – meaning some areas wouldn’t be covered by the rules.

Headingley councillor Neil Walshaw said he didn’t know yet whether this would be good or bad for Headingley.

He said: “It’s good for us to review this every few years. We want it to be effective in all the right places.

“There is a chance that this area is too big in Headingley. It could be that it is largely more effective if it is smaller.

“When officers with experience come to us and ‘this would be better’ we have to listen. We have to evaluate these things seriously.

“(The CIP) is to prevent a sprawl of new 1am and 2am bars opening in Headingley.”

The plans also include replacing CIPs in Chapel Allerton and Horsforth with policies tailored towards those areas.

To find out more or to have your say visit www.leeds.gov.uk/business/licensing-policies.