Thomas Bridge 12 August 2015

Error in licensing consultation could delay borough’s sweeping plans

Error in licensing consultation could delay borough’s sweeping plans image

Controversial plans from a London borough to tighten licensing laws could be shelved over an error in consultation documents, it has emerged.

Hackney Council has been consulting on a new licensing policy since May yet a production error on the list of proposed core hours for sites including music and dance venues, theatres and takeaway food shops has seen calls raised for the existing system to be extended over 2016.

If the proposals are accepted, Hackney will launch another consultation on its new licensing approach next year.

Plans would have seen introduction of a stricter borough-wide opening hours policy for licensed venues, alongside a policy meaning new nightclubs and dance venues in the famed nightlife location of Dalston would be ‘not considered appropriate’.

Cllr Emma Plouviez, licensing chair at Hackney Council, said: ‘Unfortunately there was a minor error in the published consultation document. Although this was not related to the part of the consultation affecting nightclub opening hours, which is what we know has caused the most concern, we want to ensure that everyone who takes the time to respond to any council consultation can have confidence that they did so with the full facts.

‘Hackney’s creative and night time economy is famous worldwide and brings valuable investment and employment into the borough, but first and foremost Hackney is a place for people to live. Balancing the needs of the night time economy with the rights of our residents to live in a peaceful and safe environment is one of the biggest challenges facing our borough.’

Campaign group We Love Hackney has warned a ‘small number of noise complaints cannot justify a clamp down on all new licenses that would wreak wider economic and cultural damage on the borough’.

‘This year the tube will start to run for 24 hours. Hackney is uniquely placed to take advantage of London’s status as 24-hour city. But what’s the point in a 24-hour tube if everything else is closed? Labelling music and dance venues “not considered appropriate”, and expecting people go home at 11pm, sends out a disastrous message that isn’t true to the borough,’ the body has warned.

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