Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Party Is Coming to an End, Say City' S Concerned Council Chiefs

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Party Is Coming to an End, Say City' S Concerned Council Chiefs

Article excerpt

TIME could be called on Newcastle's reputation as a 'party city' after council leaders vowed to crack down on boozing.

The Geordie Shore image that has made the city a popular hen and stag-night destination is set to be replaced with the more sober "Safe, Sensible and Social" - the new motto for the council's licensing policy. Plans to be considered under the review, which will involve widespread consultation, include nightclubs closing no later than 2am, a 1am limit for cafes, restaurants and bars and a rise in the cost of drinks.

A late-night levy could also be placed on premises to help foot the bill for policing alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder, as well as the clean-up operation.

Supermarkets and off-licences accused of selling cut-price drinks at "pocket money" prices that are believed to cause "pre-loading" would be targeted.

The public are also to be quizzed on whether they would like to see more real ale or no-alcohol pubs and additional cultural venues.

The announcement that the policy is to be reviewed earlier than required by law follows feedback from the police, residents and other partner agencies including health organisations.

A report presented to the council's Licensing Committee says it will consider whether the city has reached a "watershed with the economic benefits of the night-time economy starting to be outweighed by the financial and social costs of excessive alcohol consumption". It has been estimated that costs to the NHS, crime and policing, the workplace and social services total a staggering PS149m a year - almost eight times what it costs the council every year to place people in older people's homes.

Yet the night-time economy is also vital for Tyneside. Around 19.2m people visit Newcastle and Gateshead - spending approximately PS346m on food and drink, with the majority of the spend taking place in Newcastle, supporting over 7,000 jobs.

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, has long argued the city has a drink problem.

He said: "Pubs and clubs are in competition to open later and later. All this does is encourage people to drink for longer. …

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