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Princesses and placards: Hackney locals protest ‘industry damaging' licensing rules

27 July 2018 by
Princesses and placards: Hackney locals protest ‘industry damaging' licensing rules

Protesters blasted music at Hackney Town Hall on Friday to challenge the local council's decision to introduce new licensing rules that campaigners warn will harm the borough's night time economy.

Roughly 150 locals turned up to protest the Hackney council move - including a group of men and women dressed as Cinderella with placards that decried having to be "in bed by midnight".

As part of the rules a new "core hours policy" sets out closing times of 11pm on weeknights and midnight at weekends, although the council has said the document should be seen as a "guide" rather than a "blanket policy".

Jonny Dillon, one of the protest's organisers, said the regulations were "bad for residents" and discriminated against smaller operations.

He added: "The new licensing policy is anti-independent business.

"It's going to cull the diversity and the vibrancy of Hackneys night life and night time economy, and the new policy makes it a really hostile environment for small independent businesses to open up in Hackney.

He also complained over the lack of clarity in certain elements of the policy - including the ban on outdoor activites after 10pm on a weekday and midnight on a weekend, which could potentially rule out alfresco food and drink night markets.

Dillon said the policy was "incredibly ironic considering one of the main points of this new regulation is to increase the diversity of night time offerings in Hackney, and actually that policy as well as all of the rest of them will inhibit that."

Alan D Miller, the co-founder of east London's Old Truman Brewery pop-up who managed Brick Lane's Vibe bar for 20 years, said the fight to block the new rules was "not over yet".

He told - The Caterer: "Having a 10pm exclusion - after 10pm not being able to go outside and smoke - is a massive problem for everyone but particularly for street food operators, that's a key concern.

"The council leaders have always got the right to make a decision on things, it just stifles new development, new creativity, particularly new young operators who want to try things out."

He added that the clamp down came after years of support for the area's nightlife, with local authorities encouraging new contributions to the borough's evening scene.

"There was a strap line for the council: ‘Destination Dalston, come and be part of this' and that was encouraging.

"There was an opportunity and people recognised what the night time economy could do and that it would bring people in…it's done all that, now it wants to close the door and lock it out and its a real problem, a real mistake."

'Draconian' licensing measures will 'stifle innovation' in Hackney and protect poor operators>>

Hackney Council passes 'disastrous' licensing policy including 'blanket curfew'>>

Uncompromising licensing policies creating 'stagnant' high streets>>

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