Ripon council is seeking a premises licence which, if granted, would give it blanket permission to stage events through the historic city centre up to 11pm at night.
The application, which was backed by the city council in a vote on Monday, would allow the council to host events including live music, films, dance and plays and serve alcohol on Ripon’s Market Place, Kirkgate, Duck Hill and part of Queen Street from 9am-10pm Monday to Thursday, and 9am-11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
The plans have been described as “wrong on many levels” by one city centre resident, Stanley Mackintosh, who lives on Kirkgate.
“If alcohol consumption in the street is permitted or encouraged then the consequences are unavoidable – alcohol-fuelled bonhomie or worse will become an unavoidable form of noise pollution imposed upon the home and family life of Kirkgate residents,” he said.
“I believe that proper respect for the home and family life of Kirkgate residents is a perspective that is very easily overlooked by non-residents when considering potential public events.
“Respect for the rights of affected residents is vital when considering intrusive proposals for public events and activities in their streets.”
The application – which was submitted by Ripon’s City Development Manager, Alan Weston, before the council vote on Monday, would allow the city council to avoid the necessity of obtaining permission for individual events through a temporary events notice (TEN), which limits the number of guests to 500 including staff.
Mr Weston said: “The predominant driver for seeking a premises licence is the requirement to have this in place for the activity planned for the Tour de France Grand Depart weekend.
“However, a key part of the city development initiative is trying to encourage more events to take place in the city centre to attract more people to support local businesses and the economy.
“The application has been prepared to provide flexibility for the future. It will allow some existing events to grow, such as the Christmas lights switch-on, and work with other organisations to allow new events to take place.
“It is envisaged that there will only be a handful of large events each year which would require use of the premises licence.”
According to Mr Weston, it was necessary to submit the application to Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) before the city council vote on Monday in order that HBC’s licensing department had sufficient time to consider granting the licence in time for the Grand Depart, which is now under 50 days away.
Mayor of Ripon, Coun Mick Stanley, said: “There is a very good chance, had we not approved the application submission, that we couldn’t have had the events for the Tour de France.
“The matter of the blanket licence means that there is a whole range of different types of events which would be very difficult with TENs, which are currently available locally, because you can only make five a year which somewhat restricts the number of events that you have got.
“It has to be a blanket in the sense of covering these different types of events on the premises and we want to be able to have events and make use of the market square because that’s what it’s there for.
“People think we are going to have alcohol every night and every day, or dancing every day, and that isn’t the case.
The licence, if passed, would also allow for third parties to use the space via approval by the city council and City Development Manager.
Coun Stanley said: “We are not just going to hand out willy nilly the opportunity to have an event on the market square. It will be done responsibly.”
Representations against the application can be made to HBC’s Licensing Team up to Friday, June 6.
Do you support giving Ripon City Council blanket permission to hold entertainment events in the city centre, some possibly late at night? Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to The Editor, Ripon Gazette, 1 Cardale Park, Beckwith Head Road, Harrogate, HG3 1RZ.