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Licensing policy: Southwark could follow Lambeth’s lead

London SE1 website team

Southwark Council could follow the example of neighbouring Lambeth and set out a model list of operating hours for pubs, bars, clubs and off-licences.

Cllr Richard Livingstone
Southwark's Cllr Richard Livingstone

Last year we reported that SE1 arts organisations including Southbank Centre and the National Theatre had raised concerns about Lambeth's approach which they considered to be too prescriptive.

However, the new policy was approved by Lambeth's full council meeting last week and came into force on Friday.

Most of Waterloo and the South Bank is classified under the policy as a major town centre where the following end times for licences are suggested:

Restaurants & cafes: Fri-Sat 1am; Sun-Thu midnight
Pubs and wine bars: Fri-Sat 2am; Mon-Thu 1am; Sun midnight
Nightclubs: Fri-Sat 2am; Mon-Thu 1am; Sun midnight
Off-licences: midnight daily
Take-aways: Fri-Sat 2am; Mon-Thu 1am; Sun midnight

The hours set out in the new policy will not affect existing licences but will be used as a yardstick to assess future applications.

Cllr Jack Hopkins, Lambeth cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: "From the South Bank to the streets further back we can be confident in the discretion exercised by our council officers they will bear in mind the wishes and desires of residents and Balance that with those running a business.

"I'm confident that our policy will give us the ability to be tough and to be lenient where necessary... We need to stop the debate being polarised between residents and businesses.

"We all share the space and need to find a way of making sure we share it in a much more productive way."

Meanwhile Southwark's cabinet member for community safety has confirmed that he is keeping an eye on Lambeth's new policy and could consider adopting elements of it later this year.

"We are due to begin a review of our current licensing policy later on this year and as such officers will take the opportunity to look at all developments in the field, including the revised approach being proposed by Lambeth, and are monitoring these with interest," said Cllr Richard Livingstone.

"I will be kept informed of the work being undertaken and of course, where there are benefits identified to the amended approach currently being pursued by Lambeth, we will of course look to consider these new proposals and other new approaches, in conjunction with the licensing committee.

"The review of the policy document will be the subject of full public consultation and all interested parties will be provided with the opportunity to make submissions."

Cllr Livingstone was responding to a question tabled by Cathedrals ward councillor Adele Morris.

Cllr Morris said: "Despite its name the Borough and Bankside saturation policy is not able
to prevent any new licensed premises from opening.

"The only way to get a licence rejected or modified is if there are objections, and the onus is on local residents to spot an A4 notice about the application in the window of the premises.

"Lambeth's proposals seem like a more effective way of resolving some of the problems of alcohol related late night disturbance that cause misery for residents.

"I am disappointed in the unambitious response from Labour's community safety cabinet member, which states that Lambeth's idea will be 'looked at' during a review that will take place later this year.

"We are still waiting for the consultation on the late night levy, which can generate extra income for enforcement and was made possible through legislation introduced by the Coalition Government back in 2012.

"Labour's new planning policy for Blackfriars Road encourages more and more restaurants and bars, and yet they are slow to take steps to control the licences.

"When is this administration going to take the residents' views into consideration and use the powers they have been given to protect them from alcohol related late night disturbance, instead of focussing solely on the development opportunities?"

• With thanks to the Brixton Blog for assistance with this story.

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