POLICE have claimed a bar’s proposal to open for longer could cause an increase in crime and compromise the safety of drinkers.

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Bosses of Unique in Sun Lane, Newmarket, have applied to Forest Heath District Council to extend all activities on a Thursday and a Sunday to 3am and to 4am on a Friday and a Saturday.

Their opening hours on those days would be extended to 3.30am on a Thursday and Sunday – two hours later than currently allowed – with a one hour extension to 4,30am on a Friday and a Saturday.

But in a letter to the Forest Heath licensing team, which will be considered by the Licensing Act 2003 Sub-Committee on February 11, Suffolk Constabulary said the extra hours would cause “additional strain” at a “terminal time”.

Inspector Becky Kidd-Stanton said: “If approved this will allow the premises to sell alcohol for 18 continuous hours from 9am to 3am on a Thursday, 19 continuous hours on a Friday and Saturday and for 15 continuous hours on a Sunday. “No additional control measures/policies or conditions have been offered to enhance or promote any of the four licensing objectives.”

She added: “In our opinion the risks associated with the public having a longer time to consume alcohol should involve additional considerations. It is strongly believed that the extra hours will cause additional strain on the local infrastructure at the terminal time, thus creating greater than normal friction between both intoxicated and sober members of the public creating avoidable crime and disorder.”

Insp Kidd-Stanton said a change in opening hours, as currently proposed, would lead to more anti-social behaviour associated with the venue.

She added: “It is the constabulary’s opinion that there is enough crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour attributable to the premises to raise sufficient concern that to extend the alcohol operating hours will increase the levels of crime and expose the public at the premises to increased risk.”

Police also stated that the current staggered closing times in Newmarket allow the town’s infrastructure to cope and fits with a Cumulative Impact Policy adopted by Forest Heath to help control the growth of licensed premises in the area.

In addition to concerns raised by police, neighbours have objected to the application on the grounds of “ongoing noise disturbance”. They claim that changes to layout of the bar would exacerbate background noise problems.

A spokeswoman for Unique, said the pub had been working with police, but was unable to comment further at the time of going to press.

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