However the sale of alcohol also has negative impacts and our levels of serious violence, noise, public nuisance and sexual assault are unacceptably high. The costs associated with some nighttime town centres fall on the taxpayer which cannot be right.
Lambeth new proposed policy attempts to rebalance the borough and moves us away from a permissive regime to one where a higher level of expectation is placed on businesses and those wishing to sell alcohol, as well as a more overt desire to shape our town centres and business districts.
Some of the key changes are as follows:
- the council and partners now have more powers to reject or review a licence application or existing licence. This will mean that the bits of the council who deal with noise, nuisance or criminality will find it easier to challenge poor practice.
- WHAT the licence is and HOW it operates needs to be clear
Previously a licence was a licence was a licence. Under this new policy Lambeth will ask applicants to be clear on what they wish to operate and stick to it - a night club causes different issues to a take away and therefore the rules and expectations need to reflect that.
- WHERE a licence operates makes a huge difference
In the new policy Lambeth has been more explicit about the opening hours and types of licence which can operate in town centres, shopping parades and residential streets. Some types of venue simply aren't suitable for some places and this guidance will help applicants and residents make a judgement about what is appropriate.
- WHO runs a licensed premises has a huge impact
A poorly run pub can cause more problems than a well run nightclub, and the new policy is very clear that responsible business is what we want in Lambeth. If there is a lack of confidence in someone's ability to understand the neighbourhood in which they wish to operate, or the rules of the game, then a tougher line will be taken when considering an application or a review.
- PEOPLE'S SAFETY and WELLBEING is of paramount concern to us
Alcohol enjoyed sensibly is something we welcome but it is a powerful drug which can put people at risk of harm or as a victim of crime. Lambeth will work with licence holders and individuals to ensure that we share responsibility to create a safe environment to have a drink.
- WOMEN'S SAFETY is a serious issue for Lambeth
We have one of the highest rates of sexual assault linked to the night time economy. Lambeth has adopted recommendations from the Every Woman Safe campaign which we will expect to be implemented, things such as having staff trained in dealing with sexual assault or harassment, the use of licensed mini cabs and a safe place for women to sober up before leaving a venue if they are incapable.
- The PROTECTION OF CHILDREN is a key licensing objective
If alcohol is sold to those underage Lambeth will now be operating a ONE STRIKE POLICY. If caught a licensee will be brought in to committee for a review of their licence which may be revoked. The licensee will need to satisfy councillors that they are operating safely and not putting children at risk if they are to keep their licence. Lambeth previously operated a three strike policy.
- THE POLLUTER MUST PAY for the effects of alcohol sales
It cannot be right that businesses who make healthy profits don't pick up the tab for costs that are incurred whether that be extra street cleaning, police or council enforcement presence or the operating of the regime itself. Where businesses get together to solve these problems we will bear the costs in mind but where people attempt only to make a quick buck they will be levied over a town centre or parade area.
More details about the policy, and a survey for you to give your views are on Lambeth's website. Let the Council know what you think.