A YORK licensing specialist is highlighting trend away from ‘vertical drinking’ and urges new licence applicants to focus on a family friendly environment

John Walker, senior partner and licensing specialist at York-based solicitors Guest Walker & Co, has issued an update to the firms’ commercial property clients advising them that if they are considering applying for a Premises Licence in the area of central York covered by the Cumulative Impact Zone, they should focus on providing a ‘family friendly’ experience and not encourage ‘vertical drinking’ i.e. people standing up in bars/pubs/restaurants.

The advice comes in the midst of debate in York about its drinking culture and supports the City’s tourism strategy, which aims to develop York’s evening economy by creating a family friendly environment.

Mr Walker said: "There is a presumption for any new licence application that it will be rejected unless the applicant can rebut the likelihood that the granting of it would undermine the Licensing objectives in the City of York Council’s Cumulative Impact Zone.

"While this previously focused on the western side of the river Ouse and the ‘Micklegate run’, it now incorporates the Swinegate and Fossgate areas, and is meant to curb the number of new licensed premises in the ‘zone’. "

According to Visit York, demand for a more family friendly choice in the evening is growing. Kate McMullen, head of Visit York said: "The evening economy in York is constantly evolving, as is evident in the significant number of new eateries which have opened in York."