Surge in Wigan town centre booze-fuelled disorder

Wigan town centre
Wigan town centre

Hard-line licensing measures are doing little to halt booze-fuelled bad behaviour in Wigan town centre, the council has admitted.

Anti-social behaviour where alcohol played a part rose by 19 per cent in the central area covered by a Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP) over the past two years, town hall figures show.

There were 131 such

incidents in the area between April 1 2016 and the end of last year, compared to 110 between April 1 2015 and March 31 2016.

The figures could get even worse as the higher recording is only for part of a 12-month period.

Scores of alcohol-related crimes are also still being committed in the CIP, which imposes severe restrictions on opening new pubs, clubs, takeaways and off-licences in places where there are already many, although the lack of like-for-like figures makes gauging the policy’s exact impact hard.

The CIP automatically assumes new applications in those zones will be refused, with applicants having to go to great lengths demonstrate clearly how they will reduce anti-social behaviour.

Between April 1 last year and the end of 2016 130 crimes were committed where the offenders were under the influence, compared to 150 in the 2015-16 financial year.

Similarly there were 71 violent alcohol-fuelled crimes from April 1 to December 31 2016 compared to 92 in the 2015-16 period.

The most recent figures show eight serious violent crimes being committed by tanked-up people in Wigan town centre for the eight-month period last year, as opposed to 15 in the 12 months before that.

The figures, presented to councillors on the licensing sub-committee by licensing manager Lisa Backstrom, suggest there is still work to do to create the town centre senior politicians and

council officers have repeatedly said they want to see since the CIP was brought in.

The sub-committee was considering whether to allow King Street bar Revolution to significantly enlarge its premises by creating an upstairs bar which would also be a terrace.

The application was rejected, with officers recommending this course of action as the bar had not demonstrated it would not add to the problems already experienced in the CIP zone.

The council is determined to crack down on nuisance and violent behaviour.

Speaking when the CIP was brought in, director for economy and environment Karl Battersby said: “We want safe, vibrant and prosperous town centres and this policy will seek to tackle some of the alcohol related issues our residents and existing businesses are facing.

“It is not about stifling business growth and opportunities, but about encouraging different types of businesses into our town centres.”