Views sought on licensing policy update
Published: Thursday 28th November 13
The council is asking for the public’s views on whether it should retain its current licensing policy that restricts all-night drinking at pubs, bars and nightclubs in Wandsworth.
Since licensing laws were changed in 2005 to allow pubs and bars to stay open longer, the town hall has made it a priority to protect local residents from the impact of late night drinking.
This has meant that virtually all of the borough's licensed premises are only allowed to stay open until midnight during the week and no later than 2am at weekends.
Councillors have always believed that allowing these places to stay open very late into the night is inappropriate in a largely residential borough like Wandsworth.
There are over 1,000 local businesses that hold a liquor licence and nearly all are situated either adjacent to or very close to residential properties. Without reasonable controls on opening hours, councillors believe that many of their neighbours would suffer unacceptable noise levels, especially from customers leaving these premises late at night or in the early hours of the morning when background noise levels are much lower.
The council believes that the existing controls on opening hours serve residents well and strike the right balance in allowing local businesses to flourish.
However, now that three years has passed since the last review, councillors say it is important that members of the public are given a fresh chance to have their say on the policy.
Residents and businesses are now being asked to take part in a public consultation and to say whether or not the current system should be retained or if more relaxed opening hours should be permitted. This consultation will continue until January 17.
Chairman of the council's regulatory licensing committee Cllr Martin D Johnson said: "Our policies were originally drawn up following extensive consultation with residents, local amenity groups, the police and businesses involved in the drinks and entertainment industry.
"Three years on it is only right and proper that we ask the question again to make sure that our policies continue to properly reflect the views of local residents and also those of businesses.
"We believe that our policy strikes the right balance between protecting the interests of residents, taking steps to combat crime and disorder and also promoting the borough's night time economy.
"Wandsworth has a substantial residential population and it is our duty to ensure that business activity does not have a detrimental effect on the quality of life experienced by local people.
"There are nearly 1,000 licensed premises in Wandsworth that are permitted to sell alcohol. It is important that we take steps to ensure they do not create unnecessary problems for their neighbours and the wider community."