The government has announced that councils will be able to impose blanket bans on the sale of alcohol after 3am in entire streets or city centres affected by alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and disorder.
While London Councils welcomes the move, it is clear that a blanket ban such as this is not always the best way to deal with problems stemming from excess drinking. Instead, it wants local authorities to be allowed to develop local solutions to local problems.
In its Manifesto for Londoners, launched last week, London Councils called for London boroughs to be given total control over setting boundaries over the extent and scale of late night drinking in their areas.
Pubs, restaurants and clubs play an important part in London’s communities so it should be up to people in these communities to decide what types of establishments are sited where, and how many are concentrated together.
Licensing laws are currently so tightly controlled by national guidance that Londoners are powerless to protect the atmosphere of their public places.
The Manifesto is also calling for regulation on licensing public places to be re-written to define ‘classes of public places’ – this would mean that lap dancing clubs are not classed with pubs and cafes as is currently the case.
Councils would then be able to apply appropriate conditions and controls on lap dancing clubs and local people would be given a greater say on whether these clubs should open in their areas.
Chairman of London Councils Transport and Environment Committee, Councillor Mike Fisher said:
“London is a diverse city and whether you fancy a nice meal, dancing the night away or just a quiet drink – there is something for everyone’s taste.
“Boroughs listen to the needs of local communities and know what works best in their particular areas. Bringing control of licensing down to a local level will strike a balance and allow people to enjoy themselves without spoiling it for others”.
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