Calls have been made for Sheffield’s busiest nightspot to close at 3.30am in a bid to better protect city centre residents.
Green Party councillors say Sheffield Council’s planning and licensing policies for the city centre need to be better aligned as more people now live there – with the total number of residents now at around 18,000.
They have asked the council to look at policies adopted in Plymouth – such as restricting the strength of alcohol that off -licences can sell when there are problems with street drinking nearby and revising controlled areas so venues near to homes would have to close by a certain time – as part of a licensing policy review.
West Street is described as an ‘obvious’ area that needs to be changed, with a suggested latest closure of 3.30am.
Coun Rob Murphy said: “Restricting the strength of alcohol that can be sold in areas with street drinking problems does seem to work if you can get the off licences to agree.
“There have been objections in the past to off-licences opening around the Devonshire Green area – this is not stopping them from opening but is putting some restrictions on.
“It just makes sense that in areas where there are residents there is a restriction on opening times.”
Last year, shopkeepers near Devonshire Green called on Sheffield Council and police to tackle street drinking, which they feared was blighting the area.
Residents also objected to a new 24-hour off-licence, while there have been growing concerns about the demands of balancing city centre living with a night-time economy.
Peter Sephton, of Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group – SCCRAG –said some venues were open as late as 6am.
He said: “If the closing time was 3.30am it is not going to be a lot different, people are still going to be disturbed. It is known as wild West Street and people say that is because it has weak rules, few sheriffs and lots of outlaws.
“The issue undoubtedly needs tackling, the council has been too easy on licenced premises in the West Street area so what we want to see is much stronger conditions on the licences, although we do welcome the All Bar None scheme that they operate.
“There are currently around 18,000 people living in the city centre and with the new retail quarter being examined there is likely to be a lot more living accommodation here. My prediction is that it could be 25,000 within the next 10 years.
“So we do need to find a balance between people being able to get a good night’s sleep and people coming here for enjoyment.”
SCCRAG is also setting up a website where city centre residents can report problems.
A licensing committee will consider the policy review next Thursday.