Ruffley gives his support to special licensing policy

Sunday, 22 June, 2008

David Ruffley MP has this week written to the Licensing Services at St Edmundsbury Borough Council giving his backing to a special licensing policy for the historic core of Bury St Edmunds.

The new 'cumulative impact' policy, if approved, will change the burden of proof when a licensing application is made in Bury St Edmunds' historic core. Currently residents objecting to an application have to prove that it will have a detrimental impact on the area. Under these proposals residents will still have to raise their initial objection, however, it will be down to the applicant to prove that their business will not cause the quality of life in the area to deteriorate further.

David said:

'A vibrant and successful evening economy is essential if Bury St Edmunds is to continue to prosper, however, this must not come at a cost to the quality of life that local people enjoy.

'Local people are sick and tired of the increase in antisocial behaviour that has followed in the wake of the Government's late licensing laws. Not only has this resulted in more unpalatable behaviour but it has also extended it further into the evening.

'Suffolk Constabulary does a fantastic job combating unruly conduct on our streets but they do not have the time or resources to be on every street corner tackling drunken behaviour.

'What this new policy seeks to achieve is not a blanket ban on new establishments but, instead, a new culture of awareness that encourages applicants to put the necessary preventative measures in place from the outset rather than being compelled to do so further down the line.

'Antisocial behaviour is one of my constituents' main concerns and it is my hope that if this policy is adopted the quality of life that people living in Bury's historic core enjoy will not deteriorate further and may even begin to improve.'