fears that problems with street drinkers are turning Armley’s trade centre into a ‘no-go zone’ for locals have prompted plans to put a cap on new off licences.
As previously reported in the YEP, there has been increasing concern in recent months about alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour in Town Street, with various crackdowns by the police and the authorities having limited success.
Now, following an awareness campaign by Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves and local ward councillors including Alison Lowe, plans have been drawn up for a Cumulative Impact Policy to be imposed in the area. The agreement would mean strict limits on the number of shops in the area allowed to sell booze.
A report to be debated by a Leeds City Council licensing panel next week says Town Street has been highlighted as an area of concern due to “deprivation, poor health outcomes and, more recently, an increase of disorder in the main shopping areas”.
It adds: “Residents have reported to the Armley ward members and the local MP increasing concerns about large groups of mostly male street drinkers gathering on Town Street. “Residents find this intimidating and have reported feeling that this area is becoming a no-go zone.”
A working group has already been set up to discuss solutions. It is hoped that, if approved by the licensing panel next week, more detailed work can start to pull together a new policy and consult the public.
The report points out that Town Street, like other areas in Leeds, has shown a decrease in pubs and registered clubs, but it has also seen an increase in off licences.
So far in 2015 alone, there have been four new off licence applications granted.
There are currently 10 off licences on Town Street and Branch Road, highlighting the area’s draw for these kinds of businesses.