Bury St Edmunds: Residents delight at U-turn

TOWN-centre residents are delighted after a decision to lift pub and club rules in place to protect their quality of life was overturned.

A “special area” licensing policy was brought in by St Edmundsbury Borough Council in January last year with the aim of protecting residents in Bury St Edmunds from noise and nuisance as a result of ha of drinking establishments in a small area.

Covering the area bounded by both sides of Abbeygate Street, Guildhall Street, Westgate Street, Crown Street and Angel Hill, the policy forces licensees wanting to extend their hours or open a new venue to show their plans would not have a detrimental effect on neighbours.

Following a recommendation by council officers, it was decided by the borough council’s licensing and regulatory committee to discontinue with the policy to the disappointment of the Churchgate Area Association, which represents residents and businesses in that area.

But at Monday’s meeting of the committee, borough councillor Paul Farmer, who represents the Abbeygate ward, achieved an amendment to overturn the decision to throw out the policy.

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Members of the association also presented a petition in support.

Mr Farmer, who spearheaded the policy with fellow Abbeygate councillor Richard Rout, said the first round had been won in getting the policy reinstated.

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He said: “I am delighted by the overwhelming support for my amendment from committee members, and grateful for the work of the Churchgate Area Association.

“This is a victory for common sense. The special area policy has benefited hundreds of residents in the historic core in the past two years, yet no licensing applications have been turned down. It really is a win-win policy.”

Churchgate Area Association chairman Andrew Hinchley said it was “great news”.

Karen Hurden, a member of the licensing sub-committee at the association, said they were all “extremely pleased”.

She said: “All the committee played a huge part in this. There were very strong feelings about it being dropped.”

Andrew Hunter, of The Hunter Club in St Andrew’s Street South, a licensed venue for groups and functions, said he was disappointed by the committee’s decision.

“My view is there are adequate measures in place to manage the licensing and I don’t think this has done any good or added anything to it.

“And it’s just created another layer of bureaucracy and time-wasting.”

There will now be a period of public consultation on the policy before the committee meets in March to decide whether to recommend it to full council for implementation.


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