Booze test under review in Ribble Valley village 'plagued by night-time problems'

Queen Street in Whalley, Lancashire.
-Credit: (Image: James Maloney/Lancs Live)


Special licensing tests in a Ribble Valley village hit by antisocial behaviour are set for review after five years.

The measures require Whalley businesses to explain how proposed new bars, restaurants, clubs or takeaways would not add to problems with late-night noise, behaviour, violence, drugs and litter. Businesses seeking a license for the first time in Whalley, or those wanting to change to their existing conditions, can be subject to a licensing test by Ribble Valley Council called a cumulative impact assessment.

These were introduced in Whalley in a bid to control the overall impact of licensed businesses on the village centre, and on those living close by. It can cover new business proposals or changes for existing pubs, restaurants, clubs and takeaways.

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Ribble Valley Council introduced it a few years ago but now needs to decide whether to renew it. Licensing councillors will consider launching a review at their meeting this week.

Back in 2022, frustrations with Ribble Valley councillors and staff were raised at some licensing meetings, And the current Whalley system was renewed by the council that year. No representations were made by authorities such as the police. But there were 65 responses from the community and various debates among councillors.

Some residents and councillors complained of revellers fighting, vandalism, people trespassing into gardens, noise, litter, drunkenness and drug activity. They also criticised venue door staff, an alleged lack of police and CCTV arrangements.

Some others said the borough was doing what it could but asked if the police could do more.

A new report to borough councillors states: "A cumulative impact assessment (CIA) is a means of addressing particular issues in an area. Most have been introduced in larger towns or cities, where the impact of the night-time economy has had some detrimental impact on residents or public order. The CIA means that, unlike in normal circumstances, an applicant for a new premises licence or variation of a premises licence must demonstrate how granting it will not undermine the licensing objectives."

Licensing objectives aim to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, nuisance to residents and harm to children The CIA policy needs to stress the need for applicants to show how their business will not create problems, the council report states, But that does not mean that other people, such as residents, objectors or authorities, can be unreasonable. They must make relevant
representations, the council report adds.

If objectors or authorities such as the police do not make comments through the right process, councillors must grant an application in the terms that are consistent with the applicant's plans.

Ribble Valley councillors are recommended to allow a top officer to contact the authorities, to see if there is enough evidence to support a renewed Whalley cumulative impact policy and the area it would cover. The council will also consult informally with Whalley licensees, the parish council and community groups, and report back to the Licensing Committee.