Agenda item - Alcohol Disorder Zones

skip navigation and tools

Agenda item

Alcohol Disorder Zones

Report of the Director of Environment (copy attached).


RESOLVED – That Members adopt the governments favoured approach, only exploring ADZs as a last resort and following a request from the Chief Officer of Police, and receipt of evidence for the need in a tightly defined area.


15.1    The Committee considered a report from the Director of Environment regarding Alcohol Disorder Zones (for copy see minute book).


15.2    The Head of Environmental Health & Licensing presented the report and stated that requests had been made from Local Action Teams in the city to impose alcohol disorder zones in certain areas. If these zones were established however, more detailed evidence and work would be needed before they could be imposed. Options could include provision of taxi marshals; street wardens attached to and paid for by business districts; more CCTV in public places and additional street lighting. Additional Police resources would need to be prioritised and although Section 27 Dispersal Powers were suggested, these were already being effectively used by Sussex Police. He added that he would like to correct the recommendation in the report as follows:


1.         That Members adopt the governments favoured approach, only exploring ADZs as a last resort and following a request from the Chief Officer of Police, and receipt of evidence for the need in a tightly defined area.


15.3    Inspector Nelson from Sussex Police addressed the committee and stated that the Police were keen to see taxi marshals progressed and a scheme was being introduced which would provide two marshals at two main ranks in the city. He stated that the most obvious benefit of this was the release of Police Officers to other tasks who would otherwise be fulfilling this duty.


Inspector Nelson stated that Sussex Police were traditionally keen to embrace any opportunities provided by Central Government legislation and that their primary duty was to keep citizens safe. He added there was a wider responsibility to community cohesion however, and part of this was a need to consider the financial climate of the city. He believed that the results of Alcohol Disorder Zones (ADZ) might place a financial burden on businesses that was not proportionate to the problems they were trying to tackle.


Sussex Police had seriously considered the situation in St James’ Street, but other measures had been introduced to ameliorate the problems and the situation had considerably improved. He reiterated that in this case, an ADZ would have been particularly onerous on the businesses in the St James’ Street area. The Police were keen to discuss issues with Local Action Teams (LAT) to avoid introducing what was essentially a crisis measure.


15.4    Councillor Watkins stated the Cumulative Impact Area (CIA) cut through his ward, and this was of particular concern to the LAT. He stated that his residents wanted the entire area to be included as more and more premises were selling alcohol in his area and the CIA would help to control this growth. Councillor Watkins added that Brunswick and Adelaide Ward was the most densely populated area of the city and it was incumbent on the authorities to consider the impact of this expansion of licensed premises on the residents of the area. He said that the issues would not go away, and each area needed to be considered on an individual basis.


15.5    Inspector Nelson clarified that the CIA area was open to review and the Police would always keep an open mind on possible extensions to the area. However, the area was essentially about controlling the boom in licensed premises that had been experienced previously, but this was less evident in the current economic climate. There was a presumption of refusal in the CIA, but this needed to be proportionate and with valid reasons. He added that the Police were keen to explore other methods of controlling the problems residents were experiencing as a result of licensed premises however.


15.6    Councillor Kitcat believed that the CIA was not delivering the controls it promised. He cited only one premises being turned down in the CIA, which had resubmitted recently and been approved. He felt the position of rebuttal was not being used effectively and ADZs could help with the problems his residents experienced and would be very welcome in his ward. Councillor Kitcat added that the residents in his ward were tired of being let down by the Police on this issue and added that in the current regime, it was difficult for residents to build evidence of problems against a specific premises, given the times these problems occurred, and felt that the Police should be working harder on this issue. He asked if it was legal to allow anyone to request an ADZ.


15.7    The Chairman replied that although any organisation could request an ADZ if the Council allowed it, it would require proof and the Police were considered the only authority who had the ability to provide this proof.


15.8    Inspector Nelson added that the CIA was not an irrebuttable presumption and that the policy provided the Police with a sound basis for requesting much more strenuous conditions on a new licence. However, any decision had to be proportionate and if conditions were enough to ameliorate the negative impact of an application, then there was no grounds to refuse it.


He added that the Police took on board residents views of the problems they were suffering, but it was the case that crime had been reduced in the city centre for several years now. The Police did not expect residents to place themselves in danger at night to gather evidence against a premises, but added that they needed residents intelligence to target a particular establishment if necessary. If the Police were alerted to a problem premises they would investigate carefully, but he added that it was difficult to control problems created by people passing through the area.


15.9    Mr Nichols stated that anyone could request an ADZ but noted that ADZs and the CIA were different issues. When the CIA had been initially introduced, Mr Nichols had expressed caution about its effectiveness, and the possible perception that it was an immediate resolution to the problems created by alcohol related anti-social behaviour. The CIA concept was not based in statue and it created an unrealistic expectation for residents. He understood the frustrations expressed by communities in the city centre and realised it was difficult to identify one particular premises as the cause of the problems. However, the review process was the main tool by which communities could address the issues in their area and this process had steps which could help to alleviate persistent problems, including removal of the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) and possible revocation of the licence.


15.10  Councillor Hawkes stated that the problems created by students returning to Varley Hall in Coldean was being investigated by Police Officers and noted that it was not just premises in the city centre causing problems but people commuting home through areas afterwards. She suspected this issue was prevalent across the city.


15.11  Councillor West felt that the Police had been very enthusiastic about the CIA when it was first introduced, but now when new applications were submitted a general concern about the problems in the city was evident from all concerned, but the Police would deal with the application by negotiating conditions, which was disconcerting for the residents. There was an evident lack of success for this policy and although crime had been reduced, he felt this was attributable to the current recession. He asked if the Police would take a more robust approach in defending the CIA.


15.12  Inspector Nelson stated that it was not in the Police powers to refuse an application outright. The CIA afforded the benefit of placing more onerous conditions on a new licence than usual. He added that a greater benefit could be gained from ensuring that current licences were operated effectively. To this effect the Police and other responsible authorities met on a regular basis to look at premises where intelligence had been gathered raising concern about their operation and to ensure that effective and ongoing management of these premises was put into place.


15.13  Councillor Wrighton felt there was a gap in the law and in service of control of street noise, which she believed had a major effect on residents’ lives. She felt ADZs could be used to alleviate this problem and that street marshals could be the way forward.


15.14  Mr Nichols noted that this had not been implemented anywhere else in the Country and the Council would be exploring new territory. He added that there was no Council funding for this however and felt it would be a difficult case to assess, as a problem area would need to be identified with evidence, and action plan put into place and a review conducted on a three monthly basis. He noted that by-laws already created offences for noisy individuals in the street, although recognised that this did not represent a practicle solution.


15.15  Inspector Nelson added that Police Officers regularly dealt with individuals who were breeching the peace, but this often happened late at night and was not always an immediately obvious action for residents to note.


15.16  Councillor Kitcat asked what could be paid for using ADZs. Mr Nichols replied that all of the actions and proposals as listed in the report could be funded, but this was not an exclusive list and other options could be considered.


15.17  Dr Scanlon from the Public Health Directorate of Brighton & Hove stated that he was very keen to support and explore this idea further as he felt there was much that could be done to tackle problems in the city that were over and above the Police’s remit.


15.18  Inspector Nelson added that the Police and health colleagues were discussing initiatives including advice on how people could drink responsibly and keep themselves safe. He felt this gave a strong message that the Police cared about residents’ safety.


15.19  Councillor Simson added that the Police and the Council were working in conjunction with different faiths in the city to provide a street pastors scheme, which would be implemented in March-April 2010.


15.20  Councillor West felt that it was clear there were problems being experienced by residents relating to these issues, which were not being addressed. He understood the authority would be the first to implement this but felt that elements of the proposals could be used as a useful tool to alleviate the problems without having to implement a full ADZ. He added that unless the Council explored the options and tested to see if they were successful they would not know if they were effective. He did not want to miss the opportunity to resolve some of these issues and felt that the recommendation in the report was limiting. He proposed the following amendment, seconded by Councillor Watkins, to the recommendation:


1.         That Members adopt the governments favoured approach, only exploring ADZs as a last resort and following a request from the Chief Officer of Police, LATs or properly constituted community groups, and receipt of evidence for the need in a tightly defined area.


15.21  Councillor Watkins felt that the options to request an ADZ did need to be widened out to LATs, but felt that if ADZs were being used as a last resort all other options needed to be explored and made available to residents first. He added that LATs were extremely responsible organisations with detailed knowledge of their communities.


15.22  Inspector Nelson agreed that new legislation should be embraced where opportunities were evident but he reiterated that levying businesses to pay for options could result in an unfair economic burden at a difficult time. He added that the Police were part of the LATs in the city rather than separate from them, and if any LAT wanted to explore ADZs further, this would be considered by the Police.


15.23  Councillor Kitcat felt that the opportunities inherent in ADZs should be embraced and proposed another amendment to the recommendations, seconded by Councillor West, as follows:


1.         That Members adopt the governments favoured approach, only exploring ADZs as a last resort and following a request from the Chief Officer of Police, LATs or properly constituted community groups, and receipt of evidence for the need in a tightly defined area.


2.         That the Committee accepts the St James Street LAT request for an Alcohol Disorder Zone and will investigate the options further.


15.24  A vote was taken on Councillor Kitcat’s amendment and was lost. A vote was taken on Councillor West’s amendment and was lost. A vote was taken on the recommendation in the report, as corrected by the Head of Environmental Health and Licensing, and was carried.


15.25  RESOLVED – That Members adopt the governments favoured approach, only exploring ADZs as a last resort and following a request from the Chief Officer of Police, and receipt of evidence for the need in a tightly defined area.

Supporting documents:


Brighton & Hove City Council | Hove Town Hall | Hove | BN3 3BQ | Tel: (01273) 290000 | Mail: | how to find us | comments & complaints