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Wed 25th Sep 2013 - Loungers boss hits out at licence hurdle
Loungers boss attacks ‘cumulative impact’ policy after Truro win and Liverpool defeat: Loungers managing director Alex Reilley has attacked local authorities’ handling of “cumulative impact” policies in licensing hearings, after his company was granted a licence for a new bar in Truro, Cornwall today, just two days after failing to win a licence in Liverpool. Both hearings swung on whether a new Loungers bar would breach the cumulative impact policies in force in the two areas, which dictate that any new licence applications should normally be refused. However, Reilley said, if an area had problems with behaviour by customers using local bars that caused a cumulative impact policy to be brought into force, local authorities were simply protecting the operators whose premises were causing the problems by prohibiting new entrants. Instead, he said, they should allow in “good” operators, who could “socially engineer” the area, and drive out or reform the bad operators. Loungers’ application for the Truro licence was opposed by Truro police on the grounds that it ran counter to the cumulative impact policy. Inspector Mark Richards, of Truro police, said: “The fact is that we are at capacity in Truro in terms of the number of punters we can fit in to go drinking on a Friday and Saturday night.” Richards said that if the bar were allowed to open, “we would expect to see a rise in anti-social behaviour and assaults. We are using the cumulative impact policy exactly as intended, to freeze the night-time economy at a certain size.” Reilley said before the licence hearing that the company’s cafe-bars were food-led and would enhance the city rather than resulting in an increase in anti-social behaviour. Cornwall Council’s licensing committee granted the application at a hearing in St Austell this morning (Wednesday). On Monday the company, which aims to reach 55 sites by the end of 2014, was refused a licence for premises in Allerton, Liverpool, despite having won planning permission for converting the premises to a bar, after local councillors successfully argued that a new bar breached the cumulative impact policy. Reilley also attacked the double hearings for planning permission and alcohol licence that companies like his had to go through, saying it added to everybody’s time and expenditure.
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