Councillor calls West Street policy 'last resort' to combat street drinkers

Street drinking is a problem in West Street.
Street drinking is a problem in West Street.
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A policy campaigners say would help cut street drinking is a 'last resort' and 'should not be brought in lightly', according to a Sheffield councillor.

Coun David Barker, who chairs the city licensing board, said it was important the authority 'exhausted all of the available measures that are possible' before introducing a 'cumulative impact policy' in West Street.

Residents and businesses have called for a cumulative impact policy.

Residents and businesses have called for a cumulative impact policy.

Residents, businesses and community groups fed up with harassment from street drinkers believe the policy would help councillors block further off licenses from opening in the area - a move they say would stop the problem getting worse.

The council promised to look into the issue in June last year, but nothing has yet been implemented.

A licence for a sixth off licence, at 111 West Street, was approved by councillors last month, and angry objectors questioned why the policy was not yet in place.

But speaking this week, Coun Baker said: “We are still investigating the need for a cumulative impact policy for West Street.

111 West Street.

111 West Street.

“Our licensing team will be looking into this further, so that we can get to a point where we’re in a position to decide whether or not it would be the most appropriate thing for Sheffield. We have also agreed to set up a tasking group that will be co-chaired by the head of licensing and the director for public health."

Greg Fell, the director of public health, raised concerns about the latest off licence application.

Coun Baker added: “However. Cumulative impact policies should not be brought in lightly. Legally, they cannot be imposed, for example, without firm facts and figures demonstrating evidence on issues such as crime and disorder, anti-social behaviour, health issues and hospital admissions.

“These policies are a last resort and there are several other mechanisms that should be used prior to imposing a cumulative impact policy, such as enforcement, prosecutions, licence reviews, and imposing stronger licence conditions.

City centre ambassadors speak to street drinkers outside Tesco in West Street.

City centre ambassadors speak to street drinkers outside Tesco in West Street.

“Furthermore, Sheffield is a safe city for a night out, as proven in the fact that we’ve once again been one of the only cities in Yorkshire to be awarded a Purple Flag Award for our night-time economy.

“We need to ensure that we – with partner organisations – have already exhausted all of the available measures that are possible, before bringing in policies that could affect the council and the city as a whole.”

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