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Business and planning bill provisions on licensing a recipe for disaster

02 July, 2020

‘Our streets will become unpleasant and unsafe’

• KENTISH Town Road Action is very concerned about the section of the Business and Planning Bill 2020 which deals with al fresco eating and drinking.

We believe the government has not thought through all the ramifications of this ill-conceived bill that would permit outdoor drinking until the terminal hour of each premises, which in some cases is as late as 2am, and in one case all night.

In Kentish Town residents and families will be seriously adversely affected by night-time noise, drunkenness and violence. The police will be hard put to control the situation.

The whole of Camden is a controlled drinking zone (CDZ). This restriction is particularly necessary in Kentish Town Road where street drinking has caused major problems of alcohol-fuelled violence and criminality.

More recently these problems have largely been controlled by the actions of the police, using the CDZ powers.

However, the government is now proposing to actively encourage street drinking sold in open containers, should this bill be passed. The changes will run until September 2021.

We are especially worried about the following statements in the draft bill: “The conditions will set the hours of off-sales to match those for on-sales, allow off-sales of alcohol in open containers and allow deliveries of alcohol to residential or work buildings.

“Those conditions will suspend existing conditions that are more restrictive. So, for example, an existing condition that allowed off-sales only in closed containers would be suspended to allow sales in open containers.”

And: “The measures included in this bill modify provisions in the Licensing Act 2003 to provide automatic extensions to the terms of on-sales alcohol licences to allow for off-sales. It will be a temporary measure to boost the economy, with provisions lasting until the end of September 2021.

“These measures will make it possible for licensed premises that have only an on-sales licence to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. This will allow businesses to trade while keeping social distancing measures in place inside.”

If the bill is passed the result for Kentish Town Road, and for many high streets, will be a recipe for disaster.

Our streets will become unpleasant and unsafe. We must not allow this to happen.

Chair, Kentish Town Road Action


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