Monday 18 June 2007 7.40am
The new Licensing Act seems to have been strongly influenced by powerful lobbies. OK, I read the Daily Mail which ran a whole series of stories which suggested the new Act was going to destroy the fabric of Britain. I would not go so far, but my understanding is that in some of the processes (eg to withdraw a license)if the Council loses, the Council will have to pay costs. I dont know if this is true with an appeal, but if it is then the licensee will be motivated to put forward an expensive team.
Any appeal will be evidence based. So the first step is to complain. First seek clarification from the licensing committee about the ability of officers to arbitrarily change the conditions. Write to those Councillors who appeared sympathetic. Then as many as possible complain to the noise officer abut any deviation to those terms. (Circulate the number to residents.) And (spot the twitchy net curtains) keep notes of the events, what time they finished and particularly what time the clear up finished and people went home.
The aim is to get the right balance between events and residents. There is an active policy of encouraging residential development in the inner city as this generates life and safety....and property values. The licensing committee appear to have decided to try to strike a reasonable balance which could always have been extended should the events agreed to prove not to be a problem.
However, and sadly, it appears that the licensee is pushing the boundaries. Which leaves you having to defend them.
This is part of the big battle for public space in the area. A similar battle has been going on around Jubilee Gardens
. (There are one or two really quite funny stories which cant be repeated here, and not funny for those who live next door and who have been fighting the good fight for ages.) The balance between the needs of employers, land owners, visitors and residents is also at the core of the, nasty, Founders Place/Archbishops Park fight.
I dont know how to get the message across to Lambeth/Southwark and Ken, that residents fight to ensure SE1 is a good place to live, and so should have a proper voice, rather than be drowned out by the so-called "stakeholders". (Think Berni Inns, salad garnish and chips.)