Proposals to stop alcohol being sold in Epsom town centre after midnight have been rejected by the council.

Epsom and Ewell Council considered recommendations for a new borough-wide licensing policy , a zoning system, at a council meeting yesterday, July 17.

Under the system, it would be divided into red, amber and green zones with different criteria introduced for clubs and bars applying for new licences or major variations in each zone.

In the red zone, containing key streets in the heart of the town centre, clubs would be able to apply for a licence beyond 1am.

But Lib Dem councillors, who have said they receive regular complaints of noise and disturbance in the town centre, proposed to amend the recommendations to ensure no alcohol is sold after 12pm on Sundays to Thursdays and after 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

While recommendations for the zoning system were accepted by the council, the amendments were not.

At the meeting, Lib Dem councillor Julie Morris said: "The licence transfers with the premises. 

"We have dealt with some problems of good management, but if the manager changes, the licence continues and we need to consider the premises not the site it is in.

"More and more residents are now in the town centre, some living over late night premises. 

"It can be argued they knew this when they moved there, but people have the right to go to sleep on Fridays and Saturday nights.  That is sensible and right for market town in the 21st century."

But Residents’ Association Councillor Neil Dallen said: "We have spent a long time going through the policy with the police and licensing officers and we should not try to change or juggle it now."

Labour councillors voted for the amendment.  Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Sheila Carlson said: "People do have the right to sleep. 

"Yes, bars and clubs contribute to the night time economy, but the money goes back to those establishments, not to the council."

A reader's poll on the issue on this week was showing 52 per cent for support for stopping alcohol sales in the town at midnight.