Consultation deadline extended to 21st December.
Islington Council is reviewing its licensing policy earlier than usual because of feedback they have had from residents. The consultation document can be accessed on the Islington website: get involved – current consultations – licencing policy consultation. From this document you can access the review and a questionnaire for your response. I am told that so far most of the responses have come from the Islington residents who use late night licensed premises, and are not very supportive of restrictions, so those who find the numbers of pubs and clubs are getting too much need to get their views heard promptly.
Briefly the proposed policy gives as its objectives:
· the prevention of crime and disorder
· public safety
· the prevention of public nuisance
· the protection of children from harm
Islington Council believes that the borough is becoming saturated with bars, pubs and clubs which is contributing to crime and anti-social behaviour, as well as health problems which put a strain on the emergency services. They have designated a few wards in particular as “areas of cumulative impact and saturation”, and Clerkenwell is one of them. They intend to restrict closing times for new applications for licenses and variations to current licenses which are much earlier than present licensing policy allows. These are
· off-licenses – 11pm
· night clubs – 1am Sunday to Thursday, 2am Friday and Saturday
· restaurants, cafes and bars – 11pm Sunday to Thursday, midnight Friday and Saturday
· hot food and drink from takeaways- midnight Sunday to Thursday, 1am Friday and Saturday
· 24 hour sales of alcohol to hotel residents
The Council intends to be flexible in considering the circumstances surrounding each application, and will give particular attention to where the venue is sited and what else is available in the area. Licensees will have to demonstrate that the premises will be well managed, and that all necessary steps have been taken to avoid nuisance to people living in the area. The Council is keen to promote premises which are unlikely to be problematic, such as restaurants and cinemas which provide food and entertainment, not just alcohol. They are also keen to reduce the hours that shops can sell alcohol as they believe that off sales by irresponsible retailers are contributing to youth crime and anti-social behaviour. The Council appears to be using its powers to impose more vigorous controls and public accountability on those who wish to sell alcohol as a means of tackling the problems caused by irresponsible drinking.
Islington wants to hear from local residents as to whether they support this new policy or not, so if you are concerned about such matters it would be sensible to respond. The survey monkey the are using takes just a few minutes to fill in.