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London's night czar comes under fire as new venues in Hackney are asked to prove themselves not be an anti social threat
By Molly Long on 20 Jul 2018
The London Borough of Hackney’s council has this week unanimously approved controversial licensing policies that impose a weekend midnight curfew on new venues in the area. The decision goes against the council’s own poll of residents, in which some 73% voted against the measures.
New venues that wish to get around the curfew and prolong their hours will need to be able to prove to authorities that doing so will not provoke antisocial behaviour. Critics of the policy have already commented on the difficulty of this task.
Councillor Emma Plouviez, part of the team that drafted the policy, has defended the council’s actions to Resident Advisor. She says: “The onus will be on new applicants to demonstrate they are responsible, understand the pressures on the area and that their business will not have a negative impact on the area if they want to open late.
“We will help and support them to do that.”
The decision goes against the council’s own poll of residents, in which some 73% voted against the measures.
Despite her defence, many media, residents and local venue owners are still unhappy with the decision. In particular, critics are calling out London’s night czar Amy Lamé, who along with Mayor Sadiq Khan, is said to have been discussing the move for the past year. Responding, the NME published a somewhat scathing article on the decline of London’s nightlife during Lamé’s tenure.
Defending her role, the night czar tweeted that licensing decisions were not her responsibility.
Local authorities are responsible for licensing decisions, not the @mayoroflondon or the @nightczar. If you would like more information, here is a link to the Licensing Act 2003 https://t.co/2dg1VOr4x6
— Amy Lamé (london.gov.uk/coronavirus) (@amylame) July 18, 2018
Beyond the midnight curfew, the Special Policy Area (SPA) in Shoreditch, which is already home to well known music venues the Old Blue Last and Village Underground, is set to expand. For many, this means new venues will find it difficult to open in the first place. The news has lead local campaign group We Love Hackney to label the new policies “some of the toughest restrictions on nightlife in Britain” and a “gift to big corporates.”
Since facing criticism, Lamé has announced she has requested an urgent meeting with the council to discuss the way forward for nightlife in the borough.
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