THE number of city centre bars where drinkers mostly stand up could be held to stricter licensing policies by the council, it has been revealed.

Worcester City Council has recommended it changes its policy to limit the number of "vertical drinking establishments" looking to open between midnight and 6am it grants licences to in a bid to put a stop to irresponsible drinking and increased alcohol-related crime.

Late-night takeaways would also be held to the stricter rules.

According to Public Health figures from last year, there are almost 11 premises selling alcohol per square kilometre in Worcester – nearly 10 times higher than the national average.

The council's review of its licensing policy found that the majority of bars and clubs that had little or no seating were associated with the majority of crime and disorder.

Previous data also found that people standing tend to drink more than people sitting down and talking. Takeaways serving food after 11pm also saw a lot of crime and disorder.

West Mercia Police had asked for the city’s cumulative impact zone (CIZ) – which looks to protect areas which have a high density of licensed bars, restaurants, clubs and takeaways from crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour – to be extended to cover a greater area of the city centre.

The council already has a zone which covers most of the city centre including Angel Place, Foregate Street, Friar Street, New Street, Lowesmoor, The Butts and The Cross.

In June, police asked the council to extend the zone to make it simpler and the council's review of its licensing policy found there was little evidence to justify an extension.

The proposed zone would have run from Castle Street and along the River Severn up to Worcester Cathedral along Fish Street back through City Walls Road, Spring Gardens and St Paul’s Street, around Lowesmoor and up Sansome Walk before rejoining Castle Street through Taylor’s Lane.

Police said the number of licensed bars, restaurants, clubs and takeaways in close proximity with each other is clearly linked to increased levels of crime and disorder.

Police figures show the number of incidents within the current zone increased 11 per cent between 2016 and 2018. The number of alcohol related incidents also increased by 35 per cent.

The zone plays an important part of the process when the council decides on whether to grant licenses.

Applying to open a late-night premises within the zone shifts the burden onto the applicant to prove opening it would not contribute to crime and anti-social behaviour.

The council's licensing and environmental health committee meets tonight (December 9) to make a decision on whether to agree to an eight-week public consultation on the changes.