Convenience stores to escape ADZs

Convenience stores and shops closing early are likely to escape inclusion in Alcohol Disorder Zones, according to draft regulations published by the Home Office.

The plans, part of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, will give local authorities and police powers to designate troublespots as ADZs where there has been a “nuisance or annoyance to members of the public, or disorder” related to alcohol consumption, and where those problems are likely to continue.

Licensed premises within the disorder zones will have to sign up to an action plan – and if this fails, the authorities can charge them a fee for policing and administration.

Councils will score licensed premises according to rateable value and hours of opening during a designated service period. Councils will have some scope to set a time period that they consider to be a peak one for alcohol related disorder – likely to be 9pm onwards.

As reported in OLN’s Feb 23 issue, off-licences that close before the service period commences will escape having to pay.

Large pubs and clubs are likely to have to pay the most under Alcohol Disorder Zone plans.

Shops that sell alcohol as part of a mix of other products - where alcohol is not their "main purpose"– will not have to pay.

Police and authorities will review the level of disorder within each ADZ every three months, making the decision to keep the ADZ as it is, expand or reduce it, or revoke the ADZ completely.

The regulations will have to be approved by both the House of Commons and Houses of Parliament, and will come into force next autumn at the earliest.