COUNCILLORS could order a blanket ban on alcohol licence applications under an upcoming policy review, the Tele can reveal.

Members of the Licensing Board are set to meet later this year to consider bringing in new rules to combat the danger of over-provision in the area.

One of the measures open to them is to order a complete freeze on all new applications.

They could also introduce special controls on certain neighbourhoods and ban bids from certain types of premises.

Board members will listen to the views of health experts, the police and a local forum on alcohol before they draw up a new policy statement governing booze applications.

Councillor Ronnie Ahlfeld, Inverclyde Licensing Board chairman, pictured, said: "The board will be considering all aspects of over-provision when the new licensing policy is considered in the autumn.

"The board has the option of introducing a blanket ban on new applications, restricting new applications by specific area -- or indeed, restricting new applications by type of premises."

Over-provision of alcohol is where the local authority deems there are too many licensed premises in a particular area.

Local licensing boards have to consider factors like the overall numbers and capacities of premises, the types of outlets and size of their alcohol display areas.

Councillors will also take into account whether granting more licences could contribute to anti-social behaviour in specific places.

The possibility of tough curbs on the number of outlets able to sell booze comes despite the fact that the number of licensed premises has plummeted in the district in recent times.

It's estimated that there has been a reduction of around 20 per cent over the last 10 years.

Back in 2010, nearby West Dunbartonshire Council became the first local authority in Scotland to adopt over-provison rules. The move came after concerns were expressed about alcohol addiction in the area, which had the second highest number of licensed premises in Scotland per head.

Since adoption of the policy, the rate of alcohol-related deaths has increased by over seven per cent, although the number of people who are being admitted to hospital due to alcohol abuse has gone down.