Otley now 'protected' from extreme pub opening times - despite new rules being abandoned

First published in News

A proposal for tougher rules to curb a trend for ever-later opening pub times in Otley have been abandoned.

Moves by council officers, following police concerns, to introduce a Cumulative Impact Policy for the town began after one inn had applied for permission to serve alcohol until 4am.

Similar to schemes running in other parts of Leeds, the policy would have given licensing panels more leeway to reject late-night licence applications.

But a recent change in government policy has effectively given local authorities those extra powers anyway, so the impact policy has been shelved.

Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon), a licensing sub-committee member at Leeds City Council, said: "The main reason the policy had been brought forward was because the Red Lion had applied to open until 4am,

and at the time there was nothing really to stop them.

"However the Government have changed things now and Leeds has revised its policy in line with that, which means it can now take into account more factors including the opening times of other businesses in an area.

"Previously, we had to consider each application in isolation. Otley wasn't protected but now it is - and a panel can reject an application to serve until 4am, which is appropriate for a city centre but not a market town, on the grounds that nowhere else in the area is open to that time."

Some in the local licensed trade were worried that the cumulative impact policy might result in a 'lockdown' in Otley,

Coun Downes had denied that, insisting the town's pubs had nothing to fear, but is nevertheless pleased with how things have turned out.

He said: "It would have been a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but instead we now have a practical policy in place."

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