Bristol Centre “Should Have Fewer Pubs” Claim

August 14, 2009

Bristol councillors are set to introduce new rules limiting the number of pubs and clubs in a large part of the city centre.

Restrictions are likely to be brought in covering the Harbourside, College Green, the Centre, Cabot Circus and Stokes Croft. Limits on alcohol licences are also likely on the Gloucester Rd, and possibly in Clifton Village.

A council committee has recommended making the areas ‘cumulative impact zones’, where it is much harder – though not impossible – for a new pub or club to get an alcohol licence.

Councillor Gary Hopkins told Jones The News the ruling Lib Dem cabinet was likely to adopt the recommendations in full.

He said: “We don’t want to do away with fun. But we do want to make sure we don’t have an area completely dominated by vertical drinking establishments.

“We want to change the nature of the area and reduce the negative image of somewhere where it is not safe for families to go.”

He believes the drinking culture in the area has got out of hand and needs to be curtailed, adding: “More organised action would have been useful some years ago in terms of positive planning, but we are where we are.

“A thriving night-time economy is fine, but not when it drives other activities out of the area. When that happens, we have to take action.”

But many people we spoke to in the city centre disagreed with the plans.

One man said: “I think it’s a bad idea in the recession with lots of things closing down. They should make it easier, not harder to open new businesses.”

A woman told us: “I think Bristol is all about music, art and being alive. Having more pubs and clubs would be a good thing.”

Another man said: “It’s people they need to change, not the rules. If people want to find cheap drink they’ll get it.”

Audio: Martin Jones interviews councillor Gary Hopkins


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