Town council set to progress alcohol licence plan for market

PUBLISHED: 09:00 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:00 12 July 2019

Saffron Walden Market

Saffron Walden Market

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Saffron Walden Town Council has backed plans to allow the sale of alcohol on the town's market.

At a meeting of the full town council on Monday, councillors agreed in principle to extend a premises licence currently held by the town council to cover the town's market square.

The licence would allow the council to control the sale and consumption of alcohol in the defined area, and would allow stall holders to apply for separate licences to sell and serve alcohol to customers.

The issue had previously been discussed by the council in 2017 but was rejected amid fears that the sale of alcohol could see an increase in anti-social behaviour in the town.

In a report put before the full council on Monday, Terry Forsdick, a council officer, said: "Since the decision was reached not to apply for an alcohol licence, the town council has held a number of licensed activities in and around the market square and these have not provided any evidence or indication of an increase in drunken or anti-social behaviour."

The report added: "If the town council holds the licence itself, it can better monitor, manage and control the consumption and sale of alcohol on the market, but it does not take on the ultimate responsibility of the sale of alcohol; this is always the responsibility of the personal licence holder."

The motion to consider a premises licence for the market was first considered by the council's assets and services committee on June 24, which recommended the application be approved and progressed, with terms and conditions to be further agreed.

At that meeting, town clerk Lisa Courtney told councillors: "Alcohol is already being consumed on Saffron Walden market. It is being consumed as a freedom of choice of people because there is no public space protection order on the market so people are at liberty to buy alcohol and consume it wherever they want in town.

"What this may seek to do is manage that sale and consumption of alcohol, affording the town council, as the market operator, but also the stall holder, some form of protection and some mechanism for saying to people 'I'm not going to serve you any more alcohol because I think you're inebriated'. At the moment, there is no control over that.

"The suggestion is that the town council takes on the premises licence for the sale of alcohol. Each market stall which wants to sell or allow for the sale or consumption of alcohol must then also take on a personal licence so they have gone through appropriate training."

Council officers will now draw up terms and conditions for the licence and an application will be made to Uttlesford District Council, which is the licensing authority.

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