TOUGH new measures to control a crime and booze "hot spot" in the centre of York have won "overwhelming support".

Proposals for a special licensing policy in Micklegate and the surrounding area received massive backing following a consultation with licensees, businesses and members of the public, according to a city council report.

Some people even asked for the area to be extended - though councillors appear unlikely to do so yet.

The Evening Press reported last November that police and council chiefs were focusing on the Micklegate area in an effort to curb drink-fuelled violent crime, in the run-up to the introduction of more relaxed licensing laws.

Now councillors look set to approve the creation of a special licensing policy, to cover Micklegate and nearby streets, such as Toft Green, Tanner Row, Rougier Street, George Hudson Street, Low Ousegate, Tower Street, Clifford Street, Cumberland Street and King's Staith.

The policy would effectively mean applications for new licensed premises in this area, or for major changes to existing licences, would normally be refused, unless the applicant could show they would "not add to the cumulative impact already experienced".

That "impact" has been set out in police figures to be presented to councillors when they consider the policy on April 1. The collated figures showed although the area to be covered by the order contains less than 17 per cent of land within the city walls, it also has:

59 per cent of all city centre violence

31 per cent of city centre crime

40 per cent of crime in this area is violent crime

63 per cent of this violent crime takes place at weekends

58 per cent of all crime in the area is committed between 11pm and 2am

76 per cent of assaults occurred between 11pm and 2am.

The police said this showed a "direct link between crime and disorder, alcohol and the night-time economy", adding that in the period from September 2003 to August 2004 1,676 crimes were recorded in the area, of which 666 (40 per cent) were assaults.

In the same report, Richard Haswell, City of York Council's head of licensing and regulation, said a consultation in the area drew 50 responses - only one of which opposed the policy.

"There was overwhelming support for the creation of a special policy," he said, with many wanting its area extending, particularly into Blossom Street.

But Mr Haswell said the number of crimes in the Blossom Street area in the same period - 138, of which 40 were assaults - and the number of licensed premises were significantly lower than in the area already earmarked for the special policy.

Updated: 10:16 Saturday, March 26, 2005