The issue of anti-social behaviour is an epidemic on Bolton's Bradshawgate and across the town centre according to one councillor.

The authorities are to ask businesses to contribute towards the cost of the issue via a late night levy on those with a late night licence.

Initially the authority was looking to impose the tax on those with a licence to sell any alcohol between the hours of 3am and 6am across the area as a whole.

Now the authority is looking to impose the tax on those with a licence to sell any refreshment, including takeaways, at these times but in the town centre only.

A Licensing Committee this week approved another six-week consultation on a late night levy after an initial six-week consultation in spring.

David Chadwick, a Labour Group councillor, said it is an important step now the issue of anti-social behaviour is of "epidemic proportions".

Cllr Chadwick said: "The police are adamant they want it because they are the peacekeepers in the town centre and at the weekend it is difficult for them to do. Anything we can do to support them is to our benefit. 

"Clearly it's at the stage where it's become of epidemic proportions and we need to stop it as soon as possible."

Sean Fielding, another Labour Group councillor, said the town stands out for the number of businesses open until 6am.

He said he does not want to be a councillor for a town with the reputation as the place for drinking into the early hours.

The Bolton News: Cllrs David Chadwick, Sean Fielding, David Grant

Cllr Fielding said: "Places like Astley Bridge and Bromley Cross are not far from the town centre but at the moment those people are not choosing to spend their money in the town centre because of its reputation. 

"This intervention is an important step to take control of the town centre and to make it a more attractive place."

David Grant, the leader of Horwich and Blackrod First, was the only one to doubt the effectiveness of the tax. 

He called for action to tackle the sources of late night drinking rather than the symptoms of late night drinking.

Cllr Grant said: "We are serving alcohol to 6am which is a ridiculous time to be serving alcohol. The cost will never be covered by a late night levy.

"I have never understood the need to go beyond 2am. I do not think it is healthy to have substances pumped through your body 24 hours a day.

"I think it is a retrograde step to allow alcohol at 6am. It will be absorbed into the cost of alcohol so people will continue to pay and we will continue to see the bad behaviour. 

"Changing the bad behaviour should be paramount not putting up with it by charging a tax."

The law allows for exemptions for businesses such as bingo, cinemas, hotels and theatres and for reductions for businesses such as those in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief.

The Licensing Committee this week approved another six-week consultation, after which it would make a recommendation to the council, which would make a decision next year.

The charges are set by government. Here is a list of them:

Band A - rateable value of £0 to £4300 - £299/year
Band B - rateable value of £4301 to £33000 - £768/year
Band C - rateable value of £33001 to £87000 - £1259/year
Band D - rateable value of £87001 to £125000 - £1365/year
Band E - rateable value of £125001 and above - £1493/year
Band D x 2 multiplier = £2730/year*
Band E x 3 multiplier = £4440/year*

*The multiplier applies to Band D and Band E businesses where the sale of alcohol is their primary purpose or sole purpose.

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.