New pubs and bars must close early in night crackdown
11.30pm curfew to tackle late-night noise And drunken yobs
Attempts to stop drunken city centre revellers causing a latenight nuisance in Canterbury are set to be strengthened next month.
A revised licensing policy making it harder for bar owners to get later opening hours is expected to be rubber-stamped by the city council.
Greater weight will also be placed on the effect of new premises on neighbours.
If the policy is approved on April 20, new ‘core hours’ licences will only be granted until 11.30pm on Monday to Thursday and on Sundays, and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Any premises wanting later hours will have to make a convincing case for “exceptional” circumstances.
But, crucially, the revised regulations will not be retrospective, allowing existing late-night venues to continue with their current hours.
City councillor Nick EdenGreen said the “genie was let out of the jar” when the Licensing Act was first introduced in 2003, and it could not be put back.
The act – which relaxed opening hours – resulted in dozens of bars being granted later licences, and sparked complaints of latenight anti-social behaviour in the city centre.
Cllr Eden-green said: “I welcome the officers’ and members’ efforts to rebalance the policy because the act opened the floodgates to longer hours, which has certainly not produced the cafe culture we were sold.
“Really, the genie was let out of the jar back then and cannot be put back, and perhaps the council could have taken a more stringent view from the outset.
“This is really damage limitation but a move in the right direction.”
The council’s head of safer neighbourhoods, Doug Rattray, has previously admitted there has been a “continual creeping” of licensing extensions which has affected residents’ “fundamental human right” to an undisturbed night’s sleep.
Chairman of the St Mildred’s Area Community Society, Reg Race, approves of the tougher rules.
He said: “City centre residents are fed up with the drunken shouting and hollering and the ridiculous strain on the emergency services.
“We don’t want to stop people enjoying themselves but not at the expense of others.
“We supported the idea of core hours, which should make a significant improvement to people’s lives. But what needs to happens most is the re-drafting of the licensing act.”
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