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Protest to be held in Hackney this Friday against restrictive new licensing policy

The new policies will implement strict curfews on all new venues in the borough...

A protest is set to take place this Friday 27th July outside Hackney Town Hall against newly implemented licensing laws which will severely restrict opening hours of new venues.

Protestors are expected to turn out in their hundreds from midday on Friday in support of Hackney’s pivotal, diverse and influential nightlife which is seen to be under threat after local councillors voted last week to implement strict curfews on new pubs, clubs and venues opening in the borough.  

In a meeting which took place on 18th July, members of the council voted unanimously for a policy which rules that all new pubs, clubs and venues will be required to adhere to a strict curfew of 11 PM on weekdays and 12 AM on weekends. It also rules that all outdoor establishments like beer gardens and outdoor seated restaurants will have to shut at 10pm. Venues hoping to extend their licence will have to prove that such an extension won't lead to any anti-social behaviour issues.

The policy also rules for the expansion of Shoreditch Special Policy Area, within which proposed new venues must prove they will not contribute to any "cumulative negative impact" of other licensed establishments in the area.

The decision has been met with enormous criticism from local residents as well as DJs and artists including Four Tet, Midland and Plastician.

Local community group We Love Hackney have been campaigning against the proposed policies since January, describing the policy as “the toughest restrictions on nightlife in Britain”. In May, as RA reported, they sent a letter to Hackney’s mayor, Philip Glanville, requesting a meeting to discuss the proposal. These requests were reportedly ignored repeatedly. A local consultation survey of 680 people found that 77% were against expanding the Shoreditch Special Policy Area and 84% were against the new curfews.

Today (25th July) London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé shared a statement with NME responding to criticism of her handling of the issue. In it, she claimed that “Licensing policy is, by law, a matter for local authorities. Neither I nor the Mayor have the power to tell local authorities what to do or not to do on licensing issues”. Previously, she had tweeted that she was planning an “urgent meeting” with the mayor to “express concern” that the restrictions would stifle Hackney’s nightlife.

Prior to the meeting which decided on the matter, We Love Hackney posted an open letter to Hackney councillors asking them "to keep our borough diverse, independent and fun". Read the letter in full here.

Photo credit: @streetfeastldn
Eoin Murray is DJ Mag's digital staff writer. Follow him on twitter @eoin_murraye