New licensing policy for Hackney met with fierce opposition

News that a strict new licensing policy unveiled for the London Borough of Hackney in recent days has been met with fierce opposition has caught the attention of London licensing solicitors Joelson.

In recent days, it has emerged that any new bars, pubs and entertainment venues opening up in the area will be required to close at 11pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends under new council licensing rules.

The new rules will also restrict outdoor drinking after 10pm.

The changes, which only affect new venues and will have no impact on existing licensed premises, follow a string of complaints regarding late-night noise and antisocial behaviour in the area.

However, the new rules have been met with strong opposition, amid concerns that they directly contradict London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s vision for a ’24-hour city’.

According to reports, three quarters (75 per cent) of Hackney residents have said that they are against the council’s plans to crack down on the borough’s night time economy.

In addition, 84 per cent are directly opposed to the council’s intention to force new licensed premises to close at 11pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends, while a further 75 per cent are against the closing of outdoor areas from 10pm onwards.

Meanwhile, local restauranteurs such as Henry Dimbleby, who recently appeared on the BBC’s Million Pound Menu, have voiced concerns that the new policy will deter bar and pub owners from setting up new premises in the area.

Mr Dimbleby warned that the new rules could mean “the death of the Hackney that everyone has come to celebrate” in recent years, as the area has grown in prominence as a London nightlife hotspot.

After the concerns were raised, London night tsar, Amy Lamé, held an urgent meeting with council members, where Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville defended the plans.

“I’d be very, absolutely, categorically clear this is not a curfew,” he said.

“The core hours are a base of application. If you are a well-run venue going up to 11pm the presumption is you are likely to get those hours.

“If you want to go beyond that, it is a higher degree of scrutiny, but it doesn’t say you won’t get them,” he added.

If you require advice on any of the issues raised above, please contact the team at London licensing solicitors Joelson today or speak to Niall McCann directly by calling 020 7580 5721.

Niall McCann

Niall McCann

Partner – Joint-Head of Licensing, Gaming & Regulatory

+44 (0) 20 7580 5721

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This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.