Page last updated at 14:20 GMT, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 15:20 UK

Town's bars face tough measures


Oldham town centre has been blighted by recent disorder

All bars and clubs in a town centre blighted by alcohol-fuelled disorder are having their licences reviewed.

Councillors in Oldham want to introduce tough new conditions for bars offering drink promotions following a number of incidents of town centre disorder.

The licences of 22 bars in and around Yorkshire Street, where most of the nightlife is based, are under scrutiny.

If approved, bars could have to bring in a number of measures, including post office-style queuing systems.

The action has been taken by Oldham Council's Trading Standards under the Licensing Act 2003.

Under its application, the authority says cheap drink promotions "encourage alcohol misuse and anti-social behaviour" and cause a rise in crime and disorder.

Tony Allen of Oldham trading standards on the new plans

Although the act does not give any powers to ban promotions, the council believes it can impose stringent conditions on those bars that run them.

The British Beer and Pub Association said it supported Oldham's objective in tackling irresponsible promotions and the bringing in of a national mandatory code on the issue.

Lee Le Clercq, the association's regional secretary, said a new code would "avoid any legal problems that could emerge from where it is not clear Oldham has the power to take the blanket action they are proposing".

As well as one queue forming at the bar, the council hopes to ban people from consuming alcohol while standing in line and restrict each person to two drinks per trip.

Bars would also be required to hire additional door staff and pay for two additional police officers to be patrolling the club and its surrounding areas for the duration of the promotion.

Action is being taken against all 22 bars in the town centre to prevent an unfair competitive advantage being gained by one bar over another.

Councillor Mark Alcock, member for environment, said: "We have decided to start this process in order to ensure that the hundreds of people who come to Oldham every weekend enjoy a pleasant and safe night out.

"I see it as a sensible solution to helping us ensure that all bars and clubs in the town centre are able to operate on a level playing field and do not feel forced to adopt more and more extreme pricing."

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