Dalston Night Life Future 007

Who knows what the future holds for Dalston? Photograph: Colm McAfee

Late night businesses in Dalston could face closing early thanks to council plans to create a ‘special policy area’ to curb noise, crime and anti-social behaviour.

Under the proposals pubs, clubs, theatres and restaurants wanting to remain open late will find it difficult to get their applications for licences rubber stamped.

In a statement on 22 July Hackney Council said businesses will be able to renew their existing licences, but if they want to extend their hours their new application will probably not be granted.

However, licences to stay open after midnight will be granted in “exceptional circumstances”.

The council believes Dalston has “reached saturation point” with 148 alcohol licensed businesses and 63 selling late night drinks.

A spokesman said: “Significant anti-social behaviour and disorder including noisy crowds, crowds of people blocking the pavements and people urinating in the street are being reported by residents.”

The proposed special policy area will stretch from the junction of Kingsland Road and Middleton Road in the south to the junction of Stoke Newington Road and Evering Road to the north.

Alison Barnard, a resident who lives within the proposed special policy area, welcomed the plans.

She said: “I’m really thrilled that the council is acting on this, because the way the law is arranged at the moment, if a new club wants to open with a late licence it is up to the residents to prove it will cause disturbance, and that’s almost impossible.

“Even after a licence has been granted and a club is creating anti-social behavior it’s dangerous to have to go out and prove it.

“It’s stacked so heavily in the clubs’ favour and not in the interest of the community or the wellbeing of the residents.”

Ms Barnard, who is a member of Rio Cross Residents’ Association, added: “I’m 100 per cent in favour of the proposal.”

Cllr Sophie Linden, Cabinet member for Crime, Sustainability, and Customer Services, said: “It’s important that we hear from residents in the area about our proposals for managing applications for licensed premises in the future. We want businesses to thrive and people to keep coming to Hackney for a great night out without disturbing residents or spoiling their quality of life.”

A consultation process will run until 18 October and includes drop in sessions in September and an online questionnaire.

For more information go to www.hackney.gov.uk/licensing

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