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Liverpool might ban new bars in gay quarter

Liverpool City Council debating ban on new bars, including in gay area – Stanley Street Quarter
Stanley Street, Liverpool's gay district, may be effectively closed to new bars and clubs under the proposal.

Liverpool City Council might introduce a new policy which will stop new bars and clubs opening in the city, which would include its gay quarter.

In light of the recent rise in drinking on streets, street crime and violence in many of Liverpool’s popular nightlife areas, as well as the increase in the number of licensed premises, a proposal to stop new bars from opening could be passed and enforced this year.

The historic British port city has undergone a transformation in the last decade with a more vibrant shopping, restaurant and bar scene at the heart of the changes.

The Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP) would mean any license for a new bar or club that wanted to open within the city centre would most likely be rejected and the area would also include Liverpool’s gay village, otherwise known as Stanley Street Quarter. With over 90,000 LGBT people living within the metropolitan area, this could have an adverse effect on the local gay community and businesses.

Steve Radford, leader of Liverpool’s Liberal Party is one of those who oppose this policy, telling Gay Star News: ‘The answer to badly managed premises is not a blanket ban on new businesses and investment. The real answer lies with the police and other agencies doing their job and presenting their evidence to the Licensing Committee.’

Others believe this will give out the wrong impression of Liverpool as a place that is not open for business because it is a dangerous place.

There are two options for the areas in which the policy could effect – the first being the Rope Walks and/or Cavern Quarter (in which the gay village lies), and the second being the entire city centre. The committee will discuss the report on 4 January to decide on the outcome.

Radford believes the policy will almost definitely be enforced in Rope Walks, a predominantly straight area where night crime is high, while it will be a very close call on the Cavern Quarter, where more than a third of crime in that area takes places along Matthew Street, which is not part of the gay village. He also says it would be ‘disastrous’ if ‘option B’ is chosen and the ban is placed on the whole city centre.

Speaking on the effects the policy could have on Cavern Quarter, Radford says this would be counter-productive as some of the committee members who are lobbying for the ban on this area have also expressed enthusiasm for diversifying the gay village.

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