Glenrothes has second highest rate of alcohol deaths in Fife - but no ban on future off-licences

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New data detailing the impact that alcohol consumption has on health and crime in Glenrothes has brought a call for closer management of the licensing laws in the town.

The move follows a report to the town’s area committee, based on the latest available data from 2016/17, confirming Glenrothes area is home to the second highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in Fife, with hospital admissions and anti-social behaviour directly linked to drink also rating higher than the Fife average.

Delivering the report to councillors, Margaret Hannah, Director of Public health for NHS Fife, said it was time to consider whether there was over provision of alcohol in the town given what she called the “compelling evidence” regarding its association with health and crime.

Three quarters of the town’s communities had higher than the Fife average alcohol-related deaths, with 673 hospital admissions and 161 incidents of anti-social behaviour during 2016/17.

Glenrothes currently has 109 licenced premises, of which 49 are off-sales.

The report was broadly welcomed by councillors, however Cllr Altany Craik said the data was only one part of a much broader picture about the effects alcohol was having in the local community.

“We have problems with alcohol that’s accepted but it’s the volume and the amount of consumption that is key here and that’s the vital information we don’t have.

“To seek a blanket ban on the granting of off sales licences would seem to discriminate against responsible retailers.

“We need to get to the root causes of what is driving people to drink to excess.”

The Glenrothes committee fell short of following their Kirkcaldy colleagues, who had earlier this week requested Fife Licensing Board in its current review of its policy, for a town-wide cap on the issuing of new off-sales.

In a motion councillors agreed to work closely with the Fife Licencing Board to explore ways to reduce alcohol consumption as well as closely manage the granting of new licences.