Licensees hit out against Camden LNL

By Emily Sutherland contact

- Last updated on GMT

Licensees hit out against Camden LNL

Related tags: Late night levy, Camden, Night, London, London borough of camden

Two Camden-based licensees have hit out against proposals to introduce a late night levy in the borough, arguing the levy will burden businesses in the area.

The council launched a formal consultation on introducing a late-night levy this week, which is set to run until 9 November. 

Andrew Beaumont, who runs the Bucks Head in Camden Town, argued that cuts to police rather than pubs had led to anti-social behaviour in the borough.

“I’ve already seen the impact of police cuts in the area and I’ve been told it’s going to get worse over the next few months. I’ve been here 13 years, and when we first opened there were so many drug dealers it was like downtown LA. That all went away because the police made an effort to get them out of the area, but now it’s getting out of control again.”

He added that plans for a LNL had proved unpopular with the area’s licensees.

“There’s a very popular Pubwatch in Camden and everyone I’ve spoken to is against it. It’s an added tax on businesses. Camden wouldn’t be what it is without a vibrant night time economy. We employ lots of people and we’re already paying huge business rates. The problem has been Camden council creating huge venues that stay open until 3am, not pubs.

"Many of us already pay towards the Camden BID and much of what’s been done to deal with issues in the late night economy has been started by pubs themselves, like engaging with the police and entering schemes where our door people help to disperse people.

“I’d be more in favour of the proposals if there was a guarantee the money raised would be spent in Camden Town rather than elsewhere in the borough-but I’ve yet to see anything that says that will happen.”

Ken Wright, owner of the Phoenix Artist Club said that the levy was ‘nothing more than an added tax on businesses.’

He said: “Problems in this part of Camden come from the Westminster exclusion zone next door, where troublemakers are given exclusion orders and banned from Westminster for 48 hours. All that happens is that they cross the road straight into Camden where they continue unchallenged. Frankly I think it will be a waste of time and that the amount raised will not cover the cost of sufficient police - who should be here already  - or any other initiatives other than to pay to administer the scheme.

Camden council argues the area experiences higher levels of alcohol related harm than other London boroughs and it has the 7th​ highest alcohol related violent crime rate in London- significantly higher than averages in London and around the UK.

A spokesperson from the council said: “Earlier this year, between 14 February to 8 May, the Council consulted with the licensed trade, local residents and other stakeholder groups on the possibility of introducing the Late Night Levy in Camden. Having assessed and analysed the 182 responses to the consultation, with 66% supporting its’ introduction, the Licensing Committee decided that the demands placed on council and police resources in managing the night-time economy were sufficient to warrant the levy being introduced.”

Related topics: Legislation

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