The borough will keep its current policy until next year, citing an error in its draft proposal.
The council's draft licensing policy, which has been public since May, took a tough stance on nightclubs in the area. The consultation period was due to expire on Friday, August 14th, with the new system coming into play in January 2016. But the council is now proposing to delay any decision by 12 months, which it says will "give time for a new consultation next year, and opportunity for further engagement with residents and businesses." A council mailout adds: "The council also plans to launch a high-profile public debate on the borough's night time economy." The revised plan needs to be approved by the licensing committee and the full council.
Emma Plouviez, chair of Hackney's licensing committee, made the following statement:
Unfortunately there was a minor error in the published consultation document. Although this was not related to the part of the consultation affecting nightclub opening hours, which is what we know has caused the most concern, we want to ensure that everyone who takes the time to respond to any council consultation can have confidence that they did so with the full facts.
We needed to decide whether to correct the mistake and extend the current consultation, or take the opportunity to take a step back and re-consult on a new draft policy that we hope both residents and businesses will be able to support. Hackney’s creative and night time economy is famous worldwide and brings valuable investment and employment into the borough, but first and foremost Hackney is a place for people to live. Balancing the needs of the night time economy with the rights of our residents to live in a peaceful and safe environment is one of the biggest challenges facing our borough.
We want to reach a resolution that does just this, so we're going to be asking residents and businesses to join in an open discussion on where we go from here. We have already met with residents and business groups, but it's clear we need to listen further to all voices and opinions, and we plan to host a debate on this later in the autumn. We hope that residents, visitors and businesses will join us to help shape a licensing policy for Hackney, which everyone can understand and get behind.
Photo credit: Hackney Council