Supporting your ‘local’ – making licensing policy local

We want off-licences and pubs to be part of their local communities, and the responsibilities that that entails. But town centres in Streatham, Norwood, Brixton, Vauxhall and Clapham are all different and need different approaches

We are currently consulting on a new alcohol and public entertainment licensing policy here in Lambeth (pubs, clubs, late night take-aways, off licences, etc…) looking to address the problems associated with alcohol and the night time economy, without taking away Lambeth’s position as a top place to go out or stifle business who employ significantly and bring growth to the borough.

National legislation constrains us, but we are determined to make it as specific as possible to Lambeth, the neighbourhood and the area in which they are operating because they have an impact on their surroundings, they are part of a neighbourhood. No pub is an island.

At the moment there is little differentiation between an off licence, a pub or a night club in licensing terms. In Lambeth, we want to do this differently. We know that these premises serve and attract different clientele, have different impacts and ultimately create different atmospheres in the back streets or town centres they serve. Asking licensees to be clear about what they will be operating is a key change we want to make.

The Police, the local council and of course local communities see the impacts in different neighbourhoods. We have less problems with street drinking in areas with fewer off licences. We deal with higher levels of alcohol related violence where there are concentrations of late night pubs and clubs. Street based drug dealing is generally an issue where there are night clubs and a busy night time economy. That’s why we want to look at a whole neighbourhood and concentrations of types of venues, not just individual licences.

We recognise that times are tough for businesses and that the alcohol economy plays a major part in the economic life of Lambeth, employing people, providing places for social interaction and foot fall which allows other shops and venues to thrive. But some types of venue are simply in the wrong place. A night club catering for late night revellers may do its best to disperse a crowd, but if the surrounding area is residential the business model may well need to change or relocate.

How a business is run also makes a difference. A well run pub catering for 100 people but done responsibly can have less adverse impact than a no-holds-barred venue for 50. That’s why we are implementing tougher expectations about those who will be running the venue.

At the moment we licence the venue, not the individual who will be running it. Part time management concerned with profits over punters does nothing to create a harmonious community. Confidence in trained staff with a commitment and knowledge of the area, as well as proactive engagement and relations with local residents is a must in our new proposal.

Early feedback and some of the initial research leading into the proposed timings for town centres and high streets reveal different desires. In Streatham and Norwood local businesses and communities want the growth of the evening time economy, not necessarily the late night / early morning. In Clapham there is a strong resident feel to reduce the overall size and the hours of night clubs and vertical drinking establishments because of the problems they are currently suffering. In most areas the proliferation of late night off- licences is seen to be encouraging street drinking and aggressive begging, something which cafes and bars say is a problem as much if not more than local residents.

If you live, work or socialise in Lambeth please have a look at our draft proposals and take 5 minutes to respond to the consultation.

The local night time economy can only stand to benefit when all its patrons are safe. So please respond to our licensing consultation by clicking here and if you want to read some of the supporting materials click here


Future of Policing in Lambeth

Dear Colleague,
I would like to ask that you join me on the 9 January at the Electric Social in Brixton to discuss policing issues with Stephan Greenhalgh from Boris Johnson’s office.

The event is an opportunity for us to put forward our concerns about policing and cuts. The future has been uncertain for some time leading up to and since the Olympics, but it is clear that we are facing a huge challenge to keep each and every corner of Lambeth safe.

On a regular basis I have met with our Borough Commander to discuss the future structure and corresponded with Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.

We have very clear priorities about keeping Lambeth safe: targeting crime hotspots and working together to maintain good local partnerships between communities and the Police who serve them.

What can we do?
On the 9 January at 6pm Stephen Greenhalgh will be coming to the Electric Social, Acre Lane, Brixton as part of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) roadshow to consult Lambeth residents on our Policing priorities.

Please register by clicking the following link and-crime-consultation-events or contacted MOPAC at or on the phone at 020 7202 0202.

Why is this so important?
It is vital we make our voices heard with a consistent and realistic message from right across the borough. My main messages that I would like to raise which I hope you will help me with are:

Local Policing Works
Local policing is working. Having a dedicated local Safer Neighbourhood Team means that communities and residents get to know and trust their local officers.
I want assurances that this will continue. Safer Neighbourhood Teams are vital for keeping Lambeth safe and should be ringfenced

Local Police need a Local Base
For Safer Neighbourhood Teams to operate they need a local base – the threatened closure of Gipsy, Clapham and Streatham Police stations means that officers will be clocking on in Brixton and then getting the bus which is a waste of Police time. Not enough has been done to find suitable alternatives.
I want an assurance that no Police Station will be considered for sale until another local base has been confirmed

The Public need Access to Police
The closure of 24/7 front counters makes it unclear where the public can go at any one time to report a crime in a safe place. Police front counters should be open at busy times and local police teams should be out at public landmarks like libraries or in busy high streets so the public can see and speak to them.

I want an assurance that MOPAC will have a proper consultation about when and where local residents and businesses need their Police

The key message is that we need to have local partnerships with local police teams, working to local issues.

Please join me at the meeting and let’s try to get some clear answers about the future of policing in Lambeth.

Best Wishes

Cllr Jack Hopkins
Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Neighbourhoods
020 7091 9010