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."

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Recent comments

I support the council view that very late night drinking is not really appropriate for the bars of Wandsworth, as they will inevitably have an affect on local residents. If there were to be applications for licences around early morning "workers" bars around institutions of the type of Coventry garden, smith fields, billings gate et etc this should be viewed in a different light and seems to be acceptable
andrew healey

16 April 2014

This restriction must be maintained especially in the context of our location. We have a restaurant/bar named Gazette situated within the Plaza. A U shaped plaza surrounded by walls emphasizes all sound and our & other flat bedrooms overlook this area - any time extension would be intolerable. Even now late exit/dining noise exceeds the 11.30 restriction and Gazette do not comply with the planning requirement to exit direct onto Chatfield Road Historically we have sought additional licencing restrictions to improve our environment without success,as occurs in other boroughs where restaurants occur within dominant residential sites, and the monitoring of existing restrictions is inadequate.
Mr & Mrs Ian King

3 December 2013

I agree that existing licensing controls strike the right balance and should be retained. If it ain't broke, why fix it?!
Robert Bidwell

2 December 2013

I consider that the licensing laws should not be relaxed. All night drinking only makes for disruption around the pubs.

2 December 2013

Please do not change the current hours, if anything reduce them! Late night drinking should be left to Central London. Aside from the noise and disturbances coming from clients which venues fail to control, there is the noise coming from the bars themselves. Once they close they still need to do their rubbish, I get woken up every week-end by the noise of bottles being discarded and wheelie bins being dragged across the street, it is not pleasant. The behaviour that we experience around Northcote Rd/Battersea Rise on a w/e is very unpleasant (I had someone vomiting on my doorstep and regularly find empty bar glasses on the pavement). Please, if anything, reduce the opening hours and give Wandsworth residents some peace!
Sam Fiorani

2 December 2013

I find it stange how there is no option to reduce the hours, only extend them. Sounds like the hours will be extended regardless of the outcome of the consultations.... If you look at the masses of objections raised about the building of the towers by the Ram Factory.... the council still went ahead and approved the site. OBVIOUSLY late drinking hours is a bad idea....
Garrat Green

29 November 2013

Putney is unpleasant destination to go out in the evenings, as it's late night bars and clubs are rowdy noisy and aggressive. Earlsfield by comparison is great and feels safe. Leave the late hours and all night to Central London West End and City.
Christine Morris

28 November 2013

It seems fine to me

28 November 2013

Please keep the opening hours as they are now. If the hours were extended it would make life extremely unpleasant for residents.
Nancy Ford

28 November 2013