University expansion plans to limit 5,000 students drinking in Nottingham city centre

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Nottingham Trent University plans to expand its student union bar to cope with the influx of students arriving in the city this month.

Neighbourhood Inspector Paul Gummer, who manages the city centre for Nottinghamshire Police said he is currently working through the proposals with the university.

The move aims to ensure that hundreds of students don't gravitate towards the city centre on busy weekends when the pubs and bars are already at capacity under the new social distancing guidelines.

He told Nottinghamshire Live: "We don't know what students' behaviours are going to be like. They are not coming back to the same student life they had before.

"The new students are going to have different expectations. The city centre is by no means full on a Friday and Saturday.

"The venues do not feel full but they are at capacity. But if you put 5,000 students into the city, can they get in? Is there capacity there?"

He said the proposal to increase drinking facilities at the university would go some way to deal with these issues.

It is also the hope that pubs and bars would reap the rewards of having students back during the week such as traditional Wednesday student night when many residents remain at home.

Inspector Paul Gummer who is in charge of the city centre (Image: Nottingham Post)

He said the university were looking to expand their license in the student union building, which would create a new seated space.

"It is a new space that has always been there but not licensed for alcohol. I am not against that expansion of space," he added.

He said it could be a temporary license during the pandemic.

He said officers are also aware of some venues aiming to hold 'student events' and they will be looking at how this fits into the guidelines.

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Ceri Davies, chief executive at Nottingham Trent Students’ Union, said: "Coronavirus regulations have reduced capacity in the students’ union's venues by three quarters to approximately 25 percent of our usual numbers.

"In response to concerns from stakeholders and in order to try and meet demand, NTSU has been working hard to ensure that those students who wish to socialise can do so in a safe environment and in locations which will have minimal impact on our neighbouring communities.

"Where possible we have looked to extend some of our night time social spaces within our existing spaces.

"For example at our city venue, we would like to be able to accommodate additional students in a cafe space next to an existing bar. These changes will enable us to increase capacities so that we can accommodate up to a third of our usual numbers.

"We have also partnered with a number of city centre venues in order to provide additional social opportunities and further address the significantly reduced capacity within the students’ union venues."

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