Cordoned-Off Queueing Proposal for St Helens Bars

A senior councillor is urging licensing chiefs to consider imposing Post Office-style queuing systems in town centres bars.

The proposal – already being trialled in Oldham – is part of a series of measures aimed at reducing binge drinking.

Revellers at town centre bars with drinks promotions would be made to queue at the bar at cordoned barriers.

A series of other measures including banning individual punters from buying more than two drinks per visit to the bar and forcing bars to employ extra door staff could also be introduced.

Councillor Carole Kavanagh, St Helens Council's executive member for environmental protection, was told about the scheme by her counterpart at the Lancashire town's council, Coun Mark Alcock.

All 22 town centre bars in Oldham have been told they must abide by strict new measures including paying for two additional police officers to patrol nearby. Bars who refused to comply have been told they will have their licence reviewed.

Coun Kavanagh said: "I think anything that works, anything that would try to curb drinks promotions would be a good thing.

"It will be interesting to see how it plays out. The licensing officers and the chair of licensing are aware of it but because it is such a new thing no one is sure whether is could face a legal challenge.

"It's not my place as a member of licensing to consider it, it would be the lead officer. I can only see if we are looking at it.

"I would certainly look to see how they (Oldham Council) get on with it. I would hope they look at it and see if it is working.

"Binge drinking is a problem and the drink promotions play a part in that problem, but I think the biggest problem is the cheap alcohol on sale in supermarkets, and that is something only the government can tackle, not the council."

She has passed details of the Oldham model to Coun Nancy Ashcroft, chair of the council's licensing committee, as well as licensing officials.

A council spokeswoman said: "The Licensing Authority may only include conditions on an individual premises licence following the making of relevant representations by a responsible authority such as the police or by an interested party.

"It cannot impose blanket conditions. Any conditions imposed must be necessary and proportionate for promoting the four statutory licensing objectives.

"At the present time, no responsible authority has requested that this condition be considered in any application.

"Consequently, it is not currently under consideration."

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