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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

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Demand grows for curb on Barrow 24-hour drinking culture

TWENTY-FOUR hour drinking in Barrow should be scrapped because the cost of A&E services and policing drunken behaviour are spiralling out of control, councillors have warned.

A committee could be set up by Barrow Borough Council to look into ways of curbing excess drinking, after members raised concerns about bars and nightspots staying open.

David Roberts, Conservative councillor for Hawcoat, told a meeting of the full council on Tuesday that the culture of drinking into the early hours of the morning was causing a strain on hospitals and police.

Cllr Roberts said: “24-hour licensing has not worked. We need to change things on a volunteer basis or by local legislation.

“In city centres across the country, taxi drivers say they take more people out after midnight than they take home. They are already intoxicated when they are going out.

“There has been a significant rise in domestic violence due to alcoholism. It puts financial strain on our police and hospitals.

“Twenty-four hour opening has created a culture which disregards our community.”

Cllr Tony Callister, chairman of the licensing committee and Labour member for Walney North, said he will look into forming a sub-committee to explore options available to the council.

He said: “The time has come to work with relevant agencies to look at reducing opening times in a legal manner. We can make our town centre more vibrant but also safer.”

The debate comes after the recent Barrow Alcohol Inquiry, which found a group of residents supported the idea of a higher tax on alcohol and tougher punishments for repeat offenders of drink-related offences.

Cllr Barry Doughty, member for Dalton North, told the full council that the pedestrianisation of Cavendish Street would help to reduce problems with taxi congestion.

He said signs explaining the changes should be set up by the end of February.

The Furness Taxi Association has previously voiced concerns about the risk of injury to pedestrians due to the concentration of night venues along Cavendish Street.

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