RESIDENTS in Whalley are still being disturbed by drunkenness, drug abuse, anti-social behaviour and noise from revellers on streets, music from clubs and people having sex in alleys despite a special licensing system, councillors have claimed.

Whalley bars and clubs are attracting people from across the region including Blackburn, Blackpool, Hyndburn and Rossendale, making life a misery for some residents, councillors say.

Councillors raised complaints at the latest Ribble Valley Council licensing meeting and approved a new public consultation exercise in Whalley about renewing the special licensing system there.

The cumulative impact assessment (CIA) requires business people wanting to open a new bar, club or food businesses, or to change existing licence conditions, such as opening times or permission for live music or DJs, to prove they will not add to the pressures.

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Whalley has been the focus of this since 2019. Its nightlife, particularly in venues at weekends, has been the focus of debate. Many councillors expressed frustrations on behalf of residents and called for the CIA regime to be renewed.


Independent Cllr Jim Rogerson said: “The problems were horrendous for some residents. Things may have changed and people now may have less money in their pockets? Things seem to have changed in Longridge. But I’d recommend new consultation in Whalley.”

Lib-Dem Cllr Simon O’Rourke said: “We should re-look at this. In recent years, shop buildings have become vacant and then, all of a sudden, someone wants to open a bar.  We’ve had applications where we’ve agreed bars can open until 9pm. But then customers just go to another premises and the system can break down.”

He added: “Rio’s have got things sorted but it’s the other places around.”

Rio’s was the nickname for the former Rendezvous club which is now called Alta. It is next to The Aviary on Accrington Road. Both venues have signs asking customers to show respect for neighbours nearby.

Cllr O’Rourke also felt there are not enough taxis in Whalley to cope with people wanting transport home after a night out.


Conservative Cllr Mark Hindle. a Whalley councillor, said: “Whalley is a lovely place with some beautiful places to eat and drink. But there are some areas where I would not like to live, such as around Queen Street where The Aviary is based. It’s a terrible place to live at weekends. There is noise, people have sex down the alleys, they sniff cocaine off car bonnets.

“I feel I’ve let down residents because I’ve been unable to do anything about the flagrant abuses of The Aviary. I’ve seen residents leave Whalley and curse the Ribble Valley because of problems. Other places, such as The Salvage House, are not in the same league but they persistently generate a lot of noise, particularly at weekends.”

The Salvage House is on Back King Street.

He added: “In September, there was a drugs bust on a pub and multiple people were detained. In March, there was a sexual assault of a woman. There have been public order incidents. All of these have police records.

“My concern is the CIA has not had a significant impact on the small number of venues that create problems. I want this CIA to be enforced with all the agencies involved.”

Conservative Cllr Stella Brunskill said: “Late opening to drink alcohol to 2am has had a significant impact on villages because anti-social behaviour starts around midnight. It doesn’t happen in London because places close at 10 or 11pm. Late-night drinking was a policy from a past government and it has not worked. If we can do something about it, it has to be done.”

Tory Clllr Richard Newmar added: “People come to Whalley from Blackpool, Bacup. Rawtenstall, all over the place. Whalley has become known for its late night scene in what was once a rural village. The late hours seem ridiculous for the location.”


But Labour’s Cllr Kieren Spencer said: “I support consultation in Whalley. But I also think it’s important we don’t lose sight of the need for places where people can let off some steam after a week’s hard work.

“I’m not saying sniffing drugs off cars or having sex in alleys is a good thing. But we need to look at other options rather taking licences off clubs."

Cllr Ryan Corney said: “People tend to go out later at night, after a few drinks at home. There needs to be some self-control from individuals. People need to realise they’ve had enough to drink and should go home. Perhaps some work is needed with venues, to clarify when to stop serving, and some work with the police?”

Conservative Cllr Jan Alcock said it was difficult to control people on the streets, once they had left a venue.

Independent Cllr Ian Brown, licensing committee chairman, said: “This has been going on for years. There’s a problem that we have got to sort out. While I’m chairman of licensing, I’ll make sure this stops. We have got a duty to residents.”

Council solicitor Stephen Barker said opening hours in Whalley are already varied with many not open until 2am but closing at 10.30pm, such as The Salvage House.


Mr Barker told councillors the CIA was designed to deal with new and future licensing applications rather than existing licenses or historic issues. Other council powers had to be used for investigating further issues.

The Whalley CIA process first came about in 2019 and was reviewed again in 2022-23. In past consultation, no formal comments were received from  police or fire services.