Hackney Town Hall. Photograph: Hackney Citizen

Town Hall slip-up delays consultation. Photograph: Hackney Citizen

Hackney Council has abandoned the consultation on its controversial licensing policy after it “discovered” a number of errors in a key document.

Yesterday the council issued a statement claiming that due to a “minor error”, the licensing consultation which was meant to run until the end of this week will now be held next year on an “updated draft policy.”

The proposed borough-wide 12 midnight closing time for new bars prompted the launch of a high-profile campaign against the clampdown.

A number of residents’ groups argued the stricter measures are necessary to stop “Shoreditch becoming Magaluf”.

Licensing Committee chair Emma Plouviez insisted the error “was not related to the part of the consultation affecting nightclub hours.”

However when pressed by the Hackney Citizen for further details on the mistake, the council provided the ‘correct’ table which shows further restrictions on opening hours for music or dance venues, theatres and cinemas, amongst other establishments.

In areas defined as ‘All Other Areas’ of the borough, music or dance venues, theatres and cinemas would have to close by 11pm on Friday and Saturday, instead of 12 midnight as proposed in the consultation summary.

Indoor entertainment venues in ‘District Town Centres’ such as Finsbury Park, Hackney Central and Stoke Newington, ‘Local Centres’ and ‘All Other Areas’ would have to close by 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays instead of at midnight.

In ‘Local Centres’, takeaways and fast-food restaurants would have to close by 12 midnight, rather than 11pm, whilst those in ‘All Other Areas’ are categorised as ‘not considered appropriate’.

In the corrected table of core hours, members clubs in areas defined as ‘Local Centres’, such as Broadway Market or Kingsland Road, and ‘All Other Areas’ would have to close daily by 11pm.

The licensing hours

The licensing hours before and after correction. Image: Hackney Citizen

A spokesperson for We Love Hackney, the campaign launched in opposition to the licensing policy welcomed the delayed consultation but told the Hackney Citizen the council said the error was only relation to takeaway opening hours.

The spokesperson said: “It turns out Hackney’s plans are even more restrictive than they had let on, with Friday and Saturday nights ending at 11pm not midnight in some areas. What do Hackney have against people who stay up after 11pm?”

Ursula Huws, the chair of Rio Cross Residents’ Association in Dalston said: “Local residents think it is a good idea to delay the consultation.

“The public debate has become very acrimonious and we did not have much confidence in the online survey as a way of getting a full picture of the views of local businesses and residents.”

The council said responses to the current consultation will be used to help shape the policy for consultation next year. It said it also wishes to hold a “high profile public debate” on the borough’s night-time economy.

The results of the council’s consultation would have been published in early September had the consultation gone ahead.


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