Licensees and pub operators in Brighton have attacked the council’s plan to extend the city’s Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ) by almost two thirds. The move to extend the CIZ, which places new restrictions on granting licences, “is a blunt instrument that does nothing to quell the concerns of local residents [and] may actually exacerbate problems”, according to the Brighton & Hove Licensees Association (BHLA). BHLA spokesman Nick Griffin, who runs Brighton-based multiple operator Pleisure Pub Company, has written to local councillors to express concerns about the proposal, which is to be put to consultation. Griffin said a CIZ “does not target problem areas, indeed it does nothing to stop any problems that may already exist”. Automatic rebuttal of applications in a CIZ means there’s no distinction between good and bad operators, he said. Griffin said the CIZ would be open to a judicial review from major off-trade operators because he said the zones would not normally be based on the concentration of shops and off licences. Responsible pub and club operators, however, could not afford such action. He also expressed “dismay” that the council is embarking on an expensive consultation on the plan when it has no money to donate to the Best Bar None pub and club accreditation scheme. “Considering the imminent changes to the Licensing Act and the increased powers these will bring for local authorities and police alike combined with the efforts of the licensed on-trade to work together this seems ill-timed and an unnecessary expense.” Griffin added: “Blanket rebuttal policies, rather than promote and develop responsible retailers run the risk of stifling one of the key economic powerhouses of our city, damaging tourism, creating business loss and the spectre of rising unemployment. “These are conditions all too readily seen in other coastal cities and seaside towns and a condition that Brighton & Hove has moved away from in the last thirty years with the on-trade being at the very heart of this development. “Let us not run the risk of turning the clock back, rather let’s embrace partnership and good practice and work together to develop our wonderful city.”