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Lambeth acts to limit number of pubs and bars in Clapham

Lambeth Council has agreed a new policy to limit the number licensed premises in Clapham, in response to growing concerns about drunkenness, crime and anti-social behaviour.

The council last night (9th Nov) agreed to change its licensing policy and introduce what is known as a ‘saturation zone’ in the area. It means that there will be a presumption that any new applications for bars or restaurants selling alcohol, or significant changes to existing licences that could negatively impact on the area, will be turned down, providing local residents or statutory bodies such as the police object.

Until now, the council’s licensing committee cannot legally turn down applications for licensed premises on the basis that there are already too many bars and restaurants in the area. The new policy comes into effect immediately.

Councillor Rachel Heywood, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “This is a sensible policy that will help us to get the balance right and protect the right of local residents and businesses to not be affected by anti-social drinking. It was clear from the consultation that the great majority of local people are in favour of this policy and I’d like to thank all those who took the time give their views.

“There is genuine concern about the number of pubs and bars in the area and the associated problems of rowdiness, of intimidation from groups of people who have had too much to drink, and about the levels of violence associated with the area, so this policy is an important step forward.

“This is one of a set of measures we are undertaking to promote responsible drinking and make

the area safer for everybody, and we will continue to work closely with the police and licensees so that people who come to Clapham for a night out do not have to endure anti-social behaviour.”

The proposals come into effect immediately and follow an extensive consultation with local residents and businesses where the vast majority of people said they supported the plans.

Clapham has a thriving and vibrant evening economy with many people attracted to the area because of its nightlife, but there are concerns that the number of licensed premises in the area is having a negative impact on the levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Currently, the council’s licensing committee cannot legally turn down applications for licensed premises on the basis that there are already too many bars and restaurants in the area.

Of the 70 people who responded to the consultation, 63 were in favour of a saturation zone, and seven were against.

Police report that 57 per cent of all reports of crime and anti-social behaviour in the area are linked to licensed premises.

The proposed zone would run along Clapham High Street from the junction with Clapham Park Road (near Clapham Common station) to Bedford Road and Clapham North Station, taking in a number of the adjacent side roads. It would extend north along The Pavement as far as Grafton  Square, and along Clapham Common South Side to its junction with Crescent Grove.

There are 67 venues that are licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises in Clapham.

The run up to Christmas will also see the council launching a new “Be Safe Clapham” campaign where community safety officers will be working with licensees to help them encourage their customers to socialise responsibly. The campaign aims to target noisy and rowdy behaviour, encourage people to use Clapham’s pop up urinals, reduce late night littering from take aways, and keeping possessions safe – reducing the numbers of thefts within venues.

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