Have your say on Hackney's draft licensing policy

Residents and businesses are invited to have their say on a draft licensing policy for Hackney, which aims to support the borough’s vibrant nightlife, while also taking into account its impact on residents.

By law, councils must have an up-to-date licensing policy. Hackney first introduced a policy in 2005 and it was renewed in 2015 - writes hackney.gov.uk.

After two years of evidence gathering and discussions with businesses and residents, a new set of proposals for new applications has been drafted to better meet the needs of both licensees and the local community.

Striking a balance between promoting Hackney’s vibrant nightlife and the increasing complaints from residents about noise and anti-social behaviour is a real challenge.We’re a small borough, with high density housing and very popular bars, restaurants and nightclubs, and that brings about tensions that are hard to manage without guidelines in place to help licensees and residents alike.We have had a policy since 2005, and a lot’s changed since then. We think that this draft policy is fair; it puts the onus on applicants to prove to us that they will act responsibly and take into account the rights of residents to a good night’s sleep. We will consider applications on their own merit and will support licensees to do a good job, but will always take action when they don’t meet the high standards we expect.The last time we carried out a full review in 2015, there were concerns from businesses and visitors. We didn’t get it right, and we’ve learnt a lot since then, by having some really good open and frank discussions with licence holders and residents across the borough. We think this draft policy will work, and we look forward to hearing what people think of it.
Cllr Emma Plouviez, Licencing Chair, Hackney Council

Key elements of the policy include:

  • Changes to the Shoreditch Special Policy Area (SPA)

The Shoreditch SPA boundary would be extended west to City Road, south towards the City and east to the boundary with Tower Hamlets to reflect evidence that the growth of premises is impacting on ASB, crime and noise in these high-density residential areas.

Under the existing policy, new applicants are refused unless there are exceptional circumstances. A revised policy would be simpler, meaning that applicants will have to demonstrate that their premises will not add to issues of cumulative impact such as noise and anti-social behaviour.

  • Changes to the Dalston Special Policy Area (SPA)

The boundary of the Dalston SPA would remain unchanged. However, the policy would be revised so that, like the Shoreditch SPA, applicants will have to demonstrate that their premises will not add to issues of cumulative impact such as noise and anti-social behaviour.

  • New general principles for applicants

All applicants would be expected to demonstrate that they understand the area they are located in and that this has been taken into consideration, and that their proposals reflect the Council’s licensing objectives.

  • An updated core hours policy

The Council will work flexibly and treat each application on its own merits, however a set of core hours is being consulted on. The updated core hours would be Monday-Thursday 8am-11pm, Friday-Saturday 8am-12am, Sunday 10am-10.30pm.

Applicants who wish to operate outside of those hours will need to take measures to mitigate the risk of issues like ASB, crime and noise.

  • A new policy on ‘off’ sales

A proposed policy on ‘off’ sales for new applicants aims to reduce the likelihood of incidents of anti-social behaviour, such as that stemming from street drinking or drinking before arriving at licensed premises.

Hours for the supply of alcohol for consumption off the premises will generally be restricted to between 8am-11pm.

  • A new policy on outdoor activities

There is currently no policy on outdoor activities such as beer gardens, street parties and pop-ups. The Council appreciates the contribution they make to the borough but wants to ensure they do not have a negative impact on people living nearby.

Generally outdoor activity will be restricted to between 8am-10pm, unless the application can demonstrate that they have taken measures to mitigate issues like noise and ASB.

To read the Licensing Policy documents and have your say please visit www.hackney.gov.uk/licensing and fill out the online questionnaire by Friday 12 January.

An information event will be held at Hackney House on Wednesday 22 November. Find out more and register to attend at www.hackney.gov.uk/licensing.

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