York set to limit number of off-licences in city centre

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The number of shops permitted to sell alcohol in York city centre is to be restricted from next year.

The Safer York Partnership said new applications would be turned down as part of its attempts to reduce anti-social behaviour caused by drinking.

Restrictions on the number of licensed premises such as pubs and bars are already in place.

A final figure on the number of shops allowed has not yet been set.

The partnership said irresponsible drinking was a serious concern in the city centre.

It said it was keen to try and reduce the number of people drinking alcohol before going out for the night.

Additional restrictions

Jane Mowatt from the partnership said: "A lot of the problems we are having with anti-social behaviour linked to alcohol stems from people buying cheap alcohol at small supermarkets and off-licences and trying to consume it in pubs and clubs or on the streets.

"We are never going to be able to stop people drinking, but what we can do is work through licensing policy to try and make it a bit more difficult for people to get hold of alcohol."

Other restrictions could include limits on the hours shops can sell alcohol and on the sale of high-strength alcohol, Miss Mowatt added.

The city's Labour-run council is already undertaking a review of York's night-time economy and issues surrounding excessive drinking.

It is also consulting on the introduction of a late-night levy on licensed premises.

The council estimates about 14,000 people visit the city centre between 6pm and 5am each week.

The city's tourist agency Visit York said there was no evidence excessive drinking put visitors off, but added the night-time economy was crucial.

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