Newmarket: Town centre restrictions and late-night levy proposed to tackle antisocial drinking


- Credit: PA

A crackdown on anti-social drinking could see special restrictions placed on a town centre and a new levy charged on anywhere making their money from drinkers.

A consultation to put a designated public place order in Newmarket town centre was approved by Forest Heath councillors on Wednesday.

The order gives police extra powers to tackle antisocial drinkers. While people would still be able to drink in the zone covered by the order, it would be an offence to carry on drinking if a police officer asks them to stop, or if someone refused to surrender alcohol.

Robin Millar, the council’s cabinet member for families and communities, said: “Although crime figures are dropping in the town centre, there is still a problem. It’s to do with enforcement when any individual is creating a nuisance or behaving in an antisocial manner.”

A similar order was placed in Brandon last year, and councillors Bill Bishop, Eddie Stewart and Stephen Edwards, who all represent Brandon, praised its work.

Mr Stewart said: “It is a wonderful system and it will work in Newmarket. I think it’s long overdue.”

Mr Edwards added: “If you’re behaving yourself, you’ve got nothing to fear whatsoever.”

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Councillors agreed the area should be small enough for the new rules to be effectively enforced. Forest Heath will soon launch a 28-day consultation on the proposals.

There was also tentative support from some councillors for a possible late night levy that could be charged to premises where licence fees do not cover the costs caused directly by revellers.

Tom Wright, Forest Heath’s business regulation and licensing manager, said the levy could cost premises an additional £500 a year. The police would take 70% of the levy and the local authority 30%.

Only a handful of councils have imposed the legislation, which was brought in under recent changes to the licensing act.

Any decision by Forest Heath councillors would be subject to public consultation.