Beauty spot becomes 'Wild West' with booze tourists

Whalley village centre
Locals say there are too many licensed premises in the village [LDRS]

Residents and businesses in a picturesque village are to be asked if licensing policies are needed to halt the tide of rowdy boozers.

Those who live in Whalley in East Lancashire, which has more than 30 licensed premises for a population of 4,052, say it has become like the "Wild West" with drinkers coming from as far away as Blackpool or Rochdale.

Many add that the streets are plagued by late night disturbances, as it struggles to cope with the volume of people who leave a trail of vomit and empty beer glasses in the street.

Lancashire Police said it was working with Ribble Valley Council and residents to find a solution.

Although it is not a new problem in Whalley, the situation has left many residents scared to speak out, through fear of potential repercussions.

Ribble Valley Council is to quiz people over a "cumulative assessment impact" which aims to control licensing in Whalley.

'Piles of sick'

The special system, which has existed for nearly five years, requires business owners to show how proposed food, drink, music and hospitality activity or changes to existing licenses will not add to the alleged pressures or problems.

A minority of venues were recently criticised by the council which claimed that, while most are well-run, others have a negative impact .

Queen Street resident Peter Foley told Local Democracy Reporting Service: “There must be over 30 licensed premises in Whalley - too many. People are coming here from all over the place.

"Whalley’s a little village but it’s like the Wild West at weekends.

People come from places like Blackpool and Rochdale visit in the football season, he said, adding: "They watch the lunchtime match in pubs, have a few bevvies, then watch the 4.30pm match, and have some more bevvies until they fall down."

His partner Julie added: “There are piles of sick and empty beer glasses left on the street.

"Some neighbours go away away at weekends because of the noise."

Another resident who did not want to be identified also said: "There are crowds of women screeching. Women wearing plastic penises on their heads are roaming around during the day."

Matt Monk outside his wine bar
Licensee Matt Monk says he understands resident concerns [LDRS]

Licensee Matt Monk, who runs Whalley Wine Shop on King Street and a neighbouring wine bar, said: “I completely understand people’s concerns about Whalley and we try to be a sympathetic business.

“We also have to remember that Whalley is smaller than Clitheroe or Blackburn. Whalley can only hold so many licensed premises. Most businesses are pretty observant of licensing conditions and welcome well-behaved customers.

Tom and Edd Marsh, who run The Salvage House on Back King Street, added: “The elephant in the room in the discussion about Whalley is the huge rise in housing.

“It has a small village nucleus and a hugely-swelled population that creates pressure for local venues. Licensees then take the blame when it’s clearly a demographic and planning problem.

A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “The licensed premises in Whalley are one of our neighbourhood policing priorities. We are working with Ribble Valley Council, residents of the area and licensed premises to find a solution to the issues raised.”

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