Memorandum submitted by Mr and Mrs R Price

 

1. We fully understand and accept the right of people to enjoy themselves and of businesses in a city to operate. We both enjoy a night out and a drink. We also accept that, living as we do in the centre of this City, we must accept some noise. However, since the introduction of the 2003 Licensing Act in November 2005, things really have got much worse at night and by any definition must constitute public nuisance.

 

2. In this street we are now regularly disturbed, late at night and into the early hours, by rowdy people on their way home from late night premises in the City Centre (this morning at 2.30 am). They are a combination of pedestrians on their way past and people returning to parked cars shouting, slamming doors, revving engines, turning on car stereo systems, etc.

 

3. What can be done about this? Although the City Council may ask proprietors to advise their customers to be considerate, there is nothing proprietors can do to monitor or control this because it is only when their customers have left that the noise and disturbance in the neighbourhood starts. It is then easy to deny that those responsible for the noise have come from their premises.

 

4. The local authority can do nothing because the noise and disturbance does not come from premises. It is in the streets. The police are at full stretch during the night and, in any case, if one telephones them, by the time they arrive, assuming they have free resources, the noisy people have in all probability moved on and one feels that one has wasted police time.

 

5. The City Council as the Licensing Authority has a duty under the 2003 Licensing Act to carry out its licensing functions by promoting the licensing objectives which include the prevention of public nuisance. But what can a council do to prevent this sort of late night public nuisance? How are they supposed to measure harm to local amenity?

 

6. Evidence that there is already a problem in Cambridge is provided by the fact that the police applied for, and the City Council introduced, a Cumulative Impact Policy covering three areas in the City including the City Centre where we live. However while we welcome this move, it does not affect existing premises. It applies only to applications for additional late night premises so the problem continues.

 

7. Another problem with current legislation is the confusion between the planning and the licensing regulations which surely needs to be sorted out.

 

8. We believe that the Licensing Act 2003 has not had the hoped-for effect of introducing a continental style drinking culture here. Instead it has led to increased alcohol-fuelled public disorder especially late at night, greater demands on the police, greater pressure on A & E Departments in hospitals and will lead to an inevitable increase in alcohol-related ill health especially in the young with costly consequences for the nation.

 

9. We urge the Committee to press for the Act to be repealed.

 

September 2008