Local Alcohol Policy Proposes Changes to Local Licensing

Ashburton District Council will sign off on a draft Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) this week before a full consultation process to seek community views begins next week.

The draft policy contains a number of proposals designed to address issues identified in the district.

Key proposals include:

  • Introduction of a one-way door restriction for all on-license premises from 1.00am through to the latest closing time allowed of 3.00am
  • Maximum hours of operation for off-licences to be 8.00am to 9.00pm
  • Clubs required to have a qualified manager on site if there are 20 people or more on the premises
  • Requirement for BYO on-licence premises to have a qualified manager on site if alcohol is being consumed

Ashburton District Council agreed to an innovative approach of having a representative working group prepare the draft policy.

The group consisted of four council representatives, police, health and licensing representatives who brought their expertise and experience across all aspects of the local alcohol sector.

Councillor Jim Burgess, who chaired the working group charged with preparing the draft policy, says the working group looked at all available information and had wide-ranging discussion on options before arriving at the draft policy going to Council.

"While the district has similar issues to rest of the country there were some local issues the working group believed we should address," he said.

Among these were disorder and property issues in the Ashburton central business district; a key reason for the proposed introduction of the one-way door restriction.

"With policies of this nature it is often difficult to get consensus, but the working group believes it has got pretty close on this occasion" said Mr Burgess.

"Overall, there were very few matters that required a vote from the group. There was debate and discussion and everyone pushed their case as we expected." he said.

"I would like to thank everyone involved in the working group who all gave their time and expertise to ensure we have a good policy to take to the community," he said.

Council policy advisor Jenna Marsden, who managed the policy development process, says seeking community views from the outset was particularly helpful for the working group.

"Having that information enabled the working group to come up with a policy that provides a sound basis for the more detailed community input to come though the consultation phase," she said.

Community views were sought through surveys and early input from key interest groups. This was added to statistical data from Police and the Canterbury District Health Board and presented to the working group in a local issues report.

"The issues report identifies alcohol related issues in this community and helped inform the draft policy," she said.

The draft policy, consultation booklet and all supporting reports will be available on the Council website from 7 October.

Background Information

The LAP is able to deal with matters related to licensing such as maximum trading hours, one way door restrictions, location and density of premises. It aims to minimise alcohol-related harm and ensure safe and responsible consumption of alcohol.

The LAP working group members are:

  • Elected members Cr Jim Burgess, Cr Ken Cutforth, Cr Don McLeod and Cr Martin Nordqvist (currently all are members of the District Licensing Agency)
  • District Licensing Inspector Alison Batcheler
  • Medical Officer of Health representative Chris Clark or Alistair Humphrey
  • Police representative Grant Lord or Grant Russell
  • Licensees representatives Giles Beal of the Ashburton Trust and Dave den Baars of the Methven Pubs and Hospitality Association

The draft LAP will be presented to Council for adoption on 3 October and consultation will begin 7 October.

Page reviewed: 04 Oct 2013 11:54am