Hackney council in London has approved plans for a weekend midnight curfew for all new venues despite widespread opposition from the public and campaign groups.
Councillors unanimously voted to push through the new rules despite the opposition of almost three quarters of respondents to a public consultation. The We Love Hackney group, set up to fight similar proposals in 2015, also opposed the plans, contending the restrictions will stifle the area’s nightlife and vibrancy.
As well as the midnight curfew at weekends, new venues will have to close at 11pm during the week unless they can establish that there will not be anti-social behaviour problems. Furthermore, the Shoreditch special policy area, in which there are restrictions on the development of premises as venues, will also increase in size.
A spokesperson for We Love Hackney told the Hackney Gazette: “This is a disgraceful decision and a shameful failure of elected officials to listen to the views of residents. It is disastrous for the life and vibrancy of Hackney nightlife. This is not over though and we will not be ignored.”
Council officials defended the plans, saying they are intended to strike a balance between encouraging nightlife to thrive while also protecting the well-being of local residents.
Licensing committee chair Cllr Emma Plouviez, who helped draft the policy, said: “Without these steps we face a potential situation where the licensing committee could be forced to approve late licences for venues that are completely unsuitable and will have a huge impact on residents’ lives.
“The onus will be on new applicants to demonstrate they are responsible, understand the pressures on the area and that their business will not have a negative impact on the area if they want to open late. We will help and support them to do that.”
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