CONCERNS have been raised over police capacity  to meet demand from "unprecedented" numbers of visitors expected this summer following the latest licence application.

Urban Reef owner Mark Cribb has applied for an extension of the existing restaurant licence to cover its beach area saying it would give greater control.

But Dorset Police has raised fears over the request and whether the force would be able to cope with demand along Bournemouth’s beaches with BCP Council already having proposed pop-up restaurants across the seafront.

Submitted in March, the application seeks to extend the restaurant’s licensed area, in which alcohol can be served, to cover the decked area on the beach.

“Bringing this within the licensed area provides some advantages over the current situation, not least in that it provides the ability for additional control to be exercised over the area,” a letter by solicitor Jon Payne said.

The proposals put forward to BCP Council would allow for the decked area to be used from 8am through until 11pm, seven days a week.

But it has prompted Dorset Police to raise concerns and call the application in for consideration by a council licensing sub-committee. It will meet on Wednesday to discuss it.

Licensing sergeant Gareth Gosling said “unprecedented” numbers of visitors were expected to the Bournemouth area this summer, prompting the force to request a series of conditions to any approved licence.

“My concern is that without additional measures in place the extension of the existing provision will adversely impact the ability of Dorset Police and our partners to manage the demand from the volume of visitors to the Bournemouth beaches,” he said in an email to Mr Payne.

“There is concern that certain aspects of your proposal may further add to the issues of crime and disorder that we have experienced in past years.”

He has requested that 24 conditions be added to the licence in a bid to address these fears – the same as were required of the five recently-approved council licences to facilitate pop-up restaurants along the beach.

Mr Payne said the existing licence allowed for off-sales which could then be taken to the decking area but that the extension would allow staff to serve the area directly, reducing potential problems.

“In the proposed mode, traffic is then much reduced and the transit of drinks containers to the area can be undertaken by staff in a more responsible and managed way,” he said.

Councillors will consider the application on Wednesday (May 12).