Thursday, 9 June 2011

Have your say on plans to deal with drunks

Shepherds Bush residents have only till midnight tomorrow to comment on plans that should enable the council to clamp down on the late night scenes of vomit and violence we regularly experience courtesy of some of the dodgier pubs in our midst, such as the Walkabout on the Green

H&F Council wants to know what people think about introducing a "saturation zone" in Shepherds Bush that will give residents more power to stop anti-social behaviour on their doorstep.

The special licensing policy will help the Council put a stop to some of the worst anti-social behaviour by preventing town-centre outlets from opening later, or new venues being granted a licence at all.

Venues such as pubs, bars, off-licences and takeaways will not be able to extend their opening hours or change any of their licensing conditions if residents say it will have a negative impact on an area that already has lots of pubs, clubs and bars.

The Council hopes the zone, which stretches from Uxbridge Road and Goldhawk Road, around Shepherds Bush Green and to Askew Road in the west, will slash the amount of street crime and anti-social behaviour commited by late-night drinkers.

Councillor Greg Smith, Cabinet Member for Resident Services, said the policy would put residents back in charge because the onus is on pubs and bars to prove a late license would not harm the area. Currently any person wishing to object to an application would need to prove how a new licence or licence for extended hours would have a detrimental effect on the area.

Cllr Smith said: 
"Residents should not have to put up with aggressive, drunken yobs marauding through our town centre. This policy shows we are determined to do something about late-night anti-social behaviour that has caused enough misery."
The scheme has been in place in Fulham since January 2010 and residents have already seen its powers put into force.

Late night venue Havana's in Fulham Road put in an application to stay open for an extra half an hour each night, until 2.30am, and to sell alcohol until 1.45am rather than its current 1am cut-off. The bar also wanted to remove a condition that no football shirts could be worn in the bar.

But a dozen residents wrote to the licensing sub-committee stating their lives had been made hell by drunken thugs urinating through her letter box, people having sex in the road and fighting in the middle of the street.

If residents or the police tell the licensing sub-committee that they believe a new licence will cause trouble in the area, then the potential licensee would have to explain how they would prevent that problem from happening in the first place.

Existing licences for premises within the zone would not be affected by the policy but applications to vary their licences, for example a pub wanting permission to open later into the night, would have to be made taking into account the new policy.

Full credit to the council for taking these measures, which I know many of you from what you send me from time to time feel are long overdue.

* To have your say on the proposed saturation zone visit or call Adrian Overton at H&F Council on 020 8753 3081.

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