Strict rules limiting shops selling alcohol set to be extended across Middlesbrough

File picture: The store has been banned from selling booze
-Credit: (Image: Pixabay)

A zone in central Middlesbrough where new alcohol licences are less likely to be granted is set to be extended to other parts of the town.

Anyone wishing to open a licensed premises, be it a pub, off-licence or takeaway operating into the early hours, must apply to the local authority. However, a wide area which includes the town centre and Newport, faces tighter rules, due to alcohol-related trouble late at night.

Middlesbrough Council plans to maintain the current rules while extending them to include premises where alcohol is consumed off-site, such as shops and off-licences, in additional areas of the town. These include Park End and Beckfield, Brambles and Thorntree and Berwick Hills and Pallister.

Known as cumulative impact policies (CIPs), it means new applications by stores to sell alcohol within those areas are likely to be refused unless the owner can prove that there will be no negative impact. In January 2022, Teesside Grocers Ltd on Borough Road, within the Central CIP zone, was refused permission to sell alcohol from 7am to 10pm after a committee heard the area had a "startling" crime rate.

Figures show the main town centre area of Central and the surrounding streets in Newport, accounted for at least 16 per cent of all crime incidents over the past five years. In 2022-23, almost 4.5 per cent of all crimes were recorded as alcohol related and more than 26 per cent of these were recorded in the CIP area.

The policy is not a blanket ban and applications for new licences or variations to existing licences must still be considered by the council on an individual basis. In a draft statement on the proposals, the council said the policies already in place "have encouraged a higher standard of premises, management, greater utilisation of a wide range of licence conditions and, in relation to the night time economy, a diversification in the type of premises with a different 'offer'.

"This can be evidenced by the development of the Baker/Bedford Street area of the town centre, where a number of licensed bars, micro pubs, restaurants and cafes have opened in recent years. In addition, the Captain Cook’s Square development offers a diverse range of entertainment for different audiences."

An eight-week consultation on the policy runs until Monday, August 26, and members of the public and businesses are being urged to make their views known. Councillor Janet Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for community safety, said: “We’re required by law to set out our approach to licensing so members of the public and businesses have a clear understanding of how we apply the laws and regulations locally.

"As part of that it’s important that we understand their concerns and priorities to ensure we have a policy that meets their needs and expectations, and that will stand the town in good stead over the coming years. I’d therefore urge as many people as possible to make their views known as part of this important process.”

The documents relevant to the consultation can be accessed here.