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Saturation policy considered for pubs & bars in Bankside as late-night crime rises

Residents and businesses in the area between Blackfriars Road and Bermondsey Street are to be consulted on the creation of a 'saturation zone' for licensed premises.

A saturation policy means that firms wanting to open new pubs, bars or off-licences have to demonstrate that the licensing of their premises will not add to late-night violence, noise and disorder in the area.

Southwark Council's licensing committee met on Tuesday night to consider the latest late-night crime statistics for several areas of the borough.

Old Kent Road

Last October the committee agreed to launch a consultation on the creation of a saturation zone along the Old Kent Road. Councillors were told that just eight responses had been received – and that no-one had turned up to a special public meeting held at InSpire in Walworth.

Cllr Mackie Sheik criticised the poor publicity for the public meeting which was held some distance from the area of the proposed saturation zone.

The committee resolved to review the situation in Old Kent Road in six months' time.

Borough & Bankside

The committee also received data about an area described as 'Borough & Bankside', running from the Lambeth borough boundary in the west to Tower Bridge in the east and south to Union Street. This area has 178 licenced premises – nearly 15 per cent of all such premises in the borough.

Met Police figures for the area shaded red on the above map show that for the six months from June to November 2008 'violence against the person' between 11pm and and 6am rose by 33 per cent compared to the same period in 2007 (from 30 incidents to 40 incidents).

'Violence against the person' (VAP) includes murder, grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm, common assault, possession of offensive weapons, harassment and other violent crime.

The same figures show that late-night disorder and rowdiness is up 41 per cent from 78 to 110 incidents in the equivalent six-month periods.

Councillors heard from the Metropolitan Police that some of the late-night problems in the area are caused by people who have been drinking elsewhere, including revellers from the City who cross London Bridge.

The committee also heard that large meetings of football fans are a growing problem in the Borough High Street area, with many Millwall supporters now drinking at The Trinity and fans travelling to matches at Charlton often gathering at pubs near London Bridge Station.

The committee has agreed to embark on a formal consultation with licensees and residents in the area shaded blue on the above map.

On the advice of officers, committee members agreed to redraw the map of 'Borough & Bankside' to extend south to Borough Road but eliminate the areas west of Blackfriars Road and east of Bermondsey Street.

Elephant & Castle

The licensing committee was advised by the police that late-night crime at Elephant & Castle has fallen in recent times since the closure of the Ivory Arch club and the Ministry of Salsa, as well as improved security at the Ministry of Sound. The situation will be reviewed in six months' time.

Shad Thames

Councillors were told that the crime statistics for Shad Thames did not support the establishment of a saturation zone. A consultation on a possible saturation policy was held in 2007 after complaints from residents about late-night nuisance associated with local pubs and bars.

The committee resolved to discontinue its specific monitoring of Shad Thames although it will keep a general watch on statistics for the whole borough to address any emerging new hotspots of late-night trouble.

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