Licensing Policy Consultation 2023

Closed 26 Jun 2023

Opened 15 May 2023

Results updated 4 Aug 2023



We’re consulting on our new Statement of Licensing Policy, which outlines what will be considered when businesses apply for  permission to sell alcohol, carry out regulated entertainment such as live music, film or dancing or sell hot drinks and hot food between 11pm and 5am. 

We are required by law to review our licensing policy at least every five years. The Policy only applies to new licensing applications, not existing licences. 

We are also required to promote the four licensing objectives set out in the Licensing Act 2003, which are the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm.

The Policy aims to balance the need for pubs and clubs to thrive with the needs of people living in the local neighbourhood and ensuring residents nearby are not negatively impacted by nightlife. This impact could be noise at particular times of the night; litter; or increased alcohol-related crime or hospital admissions. These proposals would not affect existing licences. They would only affect those making new licensing applications.  

Is much being changed in the Policy?

The proposed changes from the version of the Policy effective from August 2018 have largely been kept to a minimum. For example the following sections of the policy [see consultation pages for more information]: LP1 General Principles, LP3 Core Hours, LP4 Off Sales and LP6 External Areas and Outdoor Events remain unchanged. Updates to information following the 2021 Census, references to Hackney Nights, WAVE and climate action are also included.

The new statement of licensing policy does propose changes to special policy areas and proposes to introduce new special consideration areas.

Special Policy Areas

Special policy areas exist in areas where there are already a large number of licensed premises and there is deemed to be a cumulative impact on local residents. This cumulative impact could mean noise at particular times of the night; litter; or increased alcohol-related crime or hospital admissions. Hackney’s existing special policy areas are in Dalston and Shoreditch, but the new licensing policy removes references to these locations ahead of an independent assessment that would determine where special policy areas should be located in the borough. We would then consult on these locations. 

There will be a presumption to refuse applications in a special policy area unless the applicant can demonstrate that their proposal will not add to the cumulative impact already being experienced.

Special Consideration Areas

We are also proposing to introduce new Special Consideration Areas, where the cumulative impact from licensed premises is similar to special policy areas but not at a level that would require a presumed refusal of a new licensing application. Instead applicants are expected to address these issues in their application and put in place measures to mitigate these impacts. The location of these areas would be decided following an independent assessment, which we will then consult on.


What support do you provide to businesses?

We’re extremely proud of Hackney’s reputation as one of the best places in London for a night out, and we’re passionate about protecting the venues that make our borough unique. 

Hackney Nights delivers a safety standard for licensed premises in Hackney. By combining public awareness campaigns with free venue training, guidance, an online portal and our new accreditation scheme, we will aim to deliver a cohesive night time safety strategy to Hackney’s operators, residents, workers and visitors. Hackney is one of the very few councils in the country with a dedicated night time economy officer who engages directly with licensed premises in order to develop this, which is all funded via the Late Night Levy.

The Hackney Nights accreditation scheme encourages licensed venues to become safer and better equipped to deal with issues around the sale of alcohol and to encourage a healthy environment for all staff, customers and visitors. Accredited businesses receive a 30% reduction on the late night levy.

Why are we consulting on new proposals? 

We’re proud of Hackney’s thriving nightlife, but this must be balanced with the impact on nearby residents. These proposals are aimed at making sure that new nightlife is well managed, supports a safe and inclusive nighttime economy and does not cause a significant negative impact on local residents . 

What kinds of impacts have local residents highlighted? 

While we know lots of Hackney residents value the borough’s nightlife, we also receive a significant number of complaints and feedback from local people about the impact this can have. This includes complaints from Council tenants who often experience nightlife-related issues and antisocial behaviour on their doorstep.

What’s the timescale of these proposals? 

This consultation lasts until 26 June, after which time responses will be considered by the Council’s Licensing Committee. An independent cumulative impact assessment is also being carried out, which may suggest special policy and special consideration areas. A new consultation will then take place to seek feedback on this assessment.

What if I’m a licence holder or run a licensed business? 

These proposals would not affect existing licences. They would only affect those making new licensing applications. 

What could happen to new licensing applications in existing special policy areas (Dalston and Shoreditch)? 

An independent assessment is being carried out to decide on the location of special policy areas in the borough (if any). This may also recommend reducing or increasing the areas covered by special policy areas. WeWe we will then publish the assessment for consultation. 

Which areas could be included in special consideration areas? 

An independent assessment will recommend which areas to include in special consideration areas, which we will then consult residents and businesses on. 

You can view the "Proposed Statement of Licensing Policy 2023-2028" by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.  We would recommend that you read this document before completing the questionnaire.


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