Cambridgeshire

Part of Peterborough 'becoming drunken slum' says MP

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Media captionThere are more than 30 shops selling alcohol in just over a mile on one stretch of road

A part of Peterborough is in danger of turning into a "drunken slum" because of the number of off-licences, says city MP Stewart Jackson.

Mr Jackson is concerned that in a mile-long stretch of road in the Millfield area of the city there are more than 30 shops selling alcohol.

Mr Jackson believes there are "too many licensed premises".

Peterborough City Council said it had to license premises unless there were good reasons not to.

Mr Jackson said the authority should be doing more to halt the number of licensed premises - including off-licences, supermarkets and newsagents - which across the city number about 80.

'Dragging their feet'

He said if the council had put forward a "cumulative impact zone" (which allows authorities to consider the wider impact of policies on an area) for Millfield, the authority would have more powers to deny applications for shops to sell alcohol.

Image caption Mr Jackson is concerned about the number of licensed shops in Millfield in particular

"They (the council) have let themselves down by allowing the proliferation of licensed premises," he said. "They have been dragging their feet.

Paul Phillipson, executive director of operations for Peterborough City Council, said: "Our licensing committee is bound by the Licensing Act 2003 which members must follow when determining applications.

"The Licensing Act states that a licence must be approved unless there is reasonable and proportionate reason not to.

"Looking forward, we are considering introducing a cumulative impact zone. New guidance, only announced by the Government in October, will support licensing committees when determining licence requests in areas where there are already a large number of outlets selling alcohol.

"Such a policy would make it more difficult for businesses to apply for an alcohol premises licence in the future."

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