A London borough is planning to use new powers to stop alcohol being sold after midnight in an attempt to tackle antisocial behaviour.
Lambeth, with support from the Home Office, is in public consultation on imposing the curfew in part of Clapham to deal with noise and disorder linked to four licensed premises: a nightclub, two bars and an off-licence.
It would be London’s first early morning restriction order (EMRO)
If implemented, the EMRO will ban the sale of alcohol from midnight to 6am, and breaches would mean the venues could be stripped of their licenses and prosecuted.
Lambeth councillor Jack Hopkins said: “We’ve worked for years with businesses and residents trying to resolve this problem, but it hasn’t worked.
“We are consulting on using this strong measure, and if there is support for it from people in the area then the council will seriously consider putting the EMRO in place.
“Many councillors in other boroughs have contacted me expressing a lot of interest in this new licensing.”
The EMRO is a power, detailed in the Licensing Act 2003, which has now been extended to councils. The Act allowed premises to apply for 24-hour alcohol licenses, but critics claim that government attempts to encourage a “café culture” have failed.
Lambeth residents have complained about nightclub The Artesian Well, bars Lost Society and Mist on Rocks, and Vesco News off-licence in Wandsworth Road and North Street for eight years.
The Artesian Well has already suffered a drop in trade after their operational hours were cut to 1:30am last year, after complaints.
Patrick Watson, 58, who lives in Wandsworth Road, said: “The venues evacuate people onto the streets but they don’t disperse properly. They urinate, vomit, scream, fight, and congregate outside our homes and opposite the retirement home and intimidate people every single weekend.”
The council will hear the views of residents and businesses until the end of next month. If there is enough public support, the EMRO will come into force in January.
Lost Society owner Mark Banks said: “We feel it’s unfair as we’re the earliest venue to close anyway, and we’ve complied with the council every step of the way regarding dealing with antisocial behaviour.” Mr Banks and Rudy Weller, director of The Artesian Well, said their venues would have to close if forced to stop selling alcohol at midnight.
The owners of Mist on Rocks and Vesco News were unavailable for comment.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The EMRO was introduced to restrict the sale of alcohol within the minority of premises that drive crime and disorder.”
Other councils are holding similar consultations on EMROs
Source: Evening Standard.