Booze review for Mill Road

Alex Coke-Woods 26 January 2008

In a bid to cut alcohol-related crime on Mill Road, Cambridge councillors and police are calling for changes to be made to laws governing the sale of alcohol in the area.

Under the new proposals, it would become harder to gain a new licence to sell alcohol on Mill Road, or to make changes to existing licences.

Any pubs, bars or restaurants now selling alcohol could find it more difficult to extend their opening hours as a result.

According to police Chief Superintendent, Rob Needle, the changes must be made in order to combat what he describes as “disproportionate level of alcohol related disorder and crime” on Mill Road.

“Mill Road has previously been identified as suffering the highest rate of violence against the person, hate crime, and anti-social behaviour in Cambridge City,” he said, in a letter addressed to the Council.

Ben Bradnack, a Labour councillor for Petersfield ward, which incorporates Mill Road, commented: “Mill Road has a significant problem with public drinking. This problem stems partly from the fact that the major Drug Dependency and Treatment Unit is at the outer end of Mill Road.”

“Those prescribed methadone find alcohol the most comforting way of dealing with the treatment… and so Mill Road becomes a site for the purchase and consumption of the most affordable and potent alcohol that those under treatment can lay their hands on,” he told The Cambridge Student (TCS).

Under the proposed scheme, the entire length of Mill Road would become Cambridge’s third ‘Cumulative Impact Zone’ (CIZ), along with the city centre and the Cambridge Leisure Park. A CIZ is an area considered to be at risk of higher levels of crime, disorder and public nuisance.

“Outlets outside Mill Road would not be subject to this constraint, and would therefore take some of the pressure off areas which currently suffer most from public alcohol abuse and related anti-social behaviour,” Mr Bradnack explained.

The policy would be popular with many local residents, the Labour councillor continued.

“Glisson and Tenison Area Residents’ association first requested the imposition of such a policy, and I strongly support its application,” Mr Bradnack said.

If new controls on alcohol licensing do come into force, there could be unintended consequences for the controversial Mill Road Tesco.

A spokesperson for the retail giant confirmed that the proposed new store would need an individual licence to sell alcohol within the restricted zone.

“It could be a race between them and the application of a CIZ,” Mr Bradnack commented.

Cambridge City Council will be discussing the issue until March 31st and welcomes comments from anyone affected by the proposals.

Alex Coke-Woods