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Calls for Bankside licensing saturation zone to be extended west of Blackfriars Road

A saturation policy to make it more difficult to gain a premises licence in Borough and Bankside was confirmed by Southwark Council assembly last week. Cathedrals councillors have asked for the area west of Blackfriars Road to be included.

Last month Southwark Council's licensing committee endorsed a proposal to introduce a saturation policy in a zone between Blackfriars Road and London Bridge Station with a southern boundary along Borough Road, Borough High Street, Long Lane, Crosby Row and Snowsfields.

The introduction of the policy follows consideration of crime statistics showing a high level of late-night 'violence against the person' in parts of Borough & Bankside and a public consultation held in the summer.

The policy was unanimously approved at council assembly last week, but Cathedrals ward councillors David Noakes and Adele Morris tabled an amendment asking the licensing committee to consider adding the area between Blackfriars Road and the Lambeth boundary to the saturation zone.

"There's been a huge increase in nightlife and the leisure economy in the north of the borough, particularly along the riverside, in the streets around the cathedral and also also around The Cut and Isabella Street," said Cllr Noakes.

"I'd like to say that, as someone who has sat on the Better Bankside board, I am very supportive of the businesses in the area.

"However – unfortunately – the number of licences in the area is starting to impact on the quality of life of residents in my ward.

"I hope that the saturation policy will achieve the correct balance between the nightlife and the right of residents to have quiet and acceptable home lives."

Cllr Noakes told council assembly that he had helped to set up a Blackfriars Antisocial Behaviour, Drugs and Alcohol Forum at the end of last year.

"There's been a rise in the number of complaints we've received from residents in places like Styles House in The Cut and around Blackfriars Road. This is definitely related to drinking, antisocial behaviour and criminality," he said.

"I know that residents in Styles House and The Cut are concerned that at the moment the recommendation does not include them.

"It also leaves us with the danger that if Lambeth introduces a saturation policy, it may leave us in the north-west of our ward ... with a small slither with no protection."

Cllr David Hubber, chair of the licensing committee, reminded colleagues that the new saturation policy will only apply to new applications and won't affect existing premises licences.

The licensing committee will now consider the possibility of extending the western boundary of the saturation zone.

However the Waterloo Quarter BID has already made clear its opposition to such a move: "In the case of The Cut, the recent redevelopment of the street specifically looked to encourage outdoor dining at the many bars and restaurants through marking out licensable areas in front of the premises," wrote operations director Helen Santer. "A saturation zone would seem in direct contravention to one of the aspirations of this award-winning regeneration scheme."

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