Operators advised to avoid ‘vertical drinking’ in York city centre


carluccios york

Operators seeking licences in York’s Cumulative Impact Zone have been advised to focus on outlets that are “family-friendly” rather than encourage “vertical drinking”.

John Walker, senior partner and licensing specialist at York-based solicitors Guest Walker & Co, has issued the guidance to its commercial property clients in the light of increasing curbs on licensing by the local council.

Cumulative Impact Zones are being introduced by increasing numbers of local authorities to put extra restrictions on licences in areas with a concentration of bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants where they feel it could cause serious problems of noise, nuisance and disorder.

John said: “There is a presumption for any new licence application that it will be rejected unless the applicant can rebut the likelihood that the granting of it would undermine the licensing objectives in the City of York Council’s Cumulative Impact Zone.

“Whilst this previously focused on the western side of the river Ouse and the ‘Micklegate run’, it now incorporates the Swinegate/Fossgate areas and is meant to curb the number of new licensed premises in the ‘zone’.

“Whilst a number of new premises have been successful in being granted licenses in these areas, including the former Army & Navy Stores on Fossgate, Carluccio’s in Coppergate and most recently Ambiente Tapas in Fossgate, there is a clear trend away from new licences being given to those offering ‘vertical drinking’ only.

“I would strongly suggest that operators who focus on supplying food to customers who are sitting down, and who can offer a family-friendly environment, are best placed to succeed with their applications in the future.”

He highlighted that the issue was set to cause debate in the city centre from an upcoming licensing application for a property in Little Stonegate. “This is right in the heart of the new primary leisure circuit in York and I am sure there will be stern resistance from the police and great reluctance to grant a premises licence from the local authority, if there is any significant element of vertical drinking proposed.

“The owners of a number of other properties will watch the outcome of this application with great interest.”

His advice supports the city’s tourism strategy, which aims to develop York’s evening economy by creating a family-friendly ambience, offering live entertainment, events, and mixed-use food and drink venues where residents and visitors can relax with their families.

According to Visit York, demand for a more family-friendly choices in the evening is growing. Kate McMullen, head of Visit York, said: “The evening economy in York is constantly evolving, as is evident in the significant number of new eateries which have opened in York.

“When it comes to eating and drinking, visitors tell us they are looking for a mixed-use, family-friendly environment, where they can relax, enjoy some delicious food and drink and enjoy entertainment such as live music.

“Visitors are also keen to eat and then take in a theatre show or ghost walk, so we’re keen to encourage new ventures which are keen to work in partnership with the cultural sector.”

John added: “There is a great opportunity here for operators whose vision mirrors that of the council to provide these facilities and help promote the development of a successful evening economy in our city.

“We are privileged to have a beautiful, historic backdrop to work with and now need to encourage our entrepreneurs to offer both residents and visitors great choice and a great atmosphere throughout York city centre after 6pm.”

Pictured top: The new Carluccio’s in York
 
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