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Late-night levy on the cards for Bournemouth bars and clubs
DANCING ON A FRIDAY NIGHT: People hit the streets to partake in some of the town’s vibrant nightlife
THE idea of imposing a late-night levy on bars and clubs or introducing a blanket closing time will be considered as ways of improving Bournemouth’s night-time economy.
The town’s licensing board is keeping an open mind on the Government’s two new proposed measures – Early Morning Restriction Orders (EMROs) and late-night levies.
But it has promised that no decisions will be made one way or another until the trade has been fully consulted.
Powers enabling local councils to introduce either or both measures are due to come into force on October 31, but the government has not yet provided detailed guidance on how the schemes would work.
EMROs would apply to a defined geographical area and would mean that every business in that area would have to shut at a set time. This could be as early as midnight.
Late-night levies would require owners of businesses operating past midnight to make a financial contribution to the cost of policing or clean-up operations.
Licensing solicitor Philip Day, of Horsey Lightly Fynn, warned councillors both proposals would have serious implications. “EMROs would mark a return to the problems caused by uniform closing times,” he said.
“It might well be that it would also send out a statement about Bournemouth that would run contrary to the town’s efforts to promote itself as a tourist resort.
“And as for late-night levies, many businesses are running on a knife-edge and the additional cost of a levy could be the final straw that breaks a number of camels’ backs.”
A recent report on the town’s night-time economy, carried out by Feria Urbanism, said both measures should be approached with caution and there was little consensus that either would provide “magic bullets.”
“Both mechanisms, if implemented, could also come with a stigma attached, sending out a harsh and negative message to investors and visitors from outside the town that the place has a problem and is a place to avoid,” the report said.
Councillors agreed that it was premature to consider either scheme now but resolved to look at them further once the regulations were in place.
What residents say
ABBY Rhodes, 20, of Charminster said: “We’re students and we don’t go out until 11 so I definitely wouldn’t want to see pubs and clubs closing early. However I do think perhaps they should clean up outside their premises themselves.”
ROXANNE Ward, 21, a Bournemouth University student living in Charminster, said: “We generally don’t go out until 11 or 11.30pm so I wouldn’t agree with early closing hours. I don’t think it would solve the problem anyway. People would just drink outside.”
GRACE James, 20, a Bournemouth University student living in Charminster, said: “I think lots of students would be put off going out if places were closing earlier and pubs and clubs would lose so much money. The levy is a bit more acceptable and is worth thinking about.”
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