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24-HOUR CITY CONFERENCE DEBATES LICENSING LAW REFORM

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Nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow, government ministers, policemen and brewing industry representatives are among ...
Nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow, government ministers, policemen and brewing industry representatives are among the speakers at a conference opening in Leeds tomorrow with the aim of reforming Britain's archaic licensing laws and bringing 'cafe culture' to the streets.

The conference is chaired by the chair of Leeds City Council's licensing committee Lorna Cohen who has led Leeds' 24 Hour City campaign.

The conference comes at a crucial stage in the debate about the future of night-time and leisure economies in UK cities. Only last month home office minister Timothy Kirkhope announced a consultation which could permit pubs to serve alcohol until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and registered clubs to have an extra hour on their late licenses. Mr Kirkhope, along with his Labour shadow George Howarth will both be speaking at the two-day conference.

Other contributions will include Manchester academic Andy Lovatt reviewing the experiment of extended licenses for city centre pubs during the European football championships; Allan Charlesworth, the country's leading police spokesman on licensing issues; Tony Paine, the general secretary of the Licensed Victuallers Associations reviewing how children's certificates in pubs have worked; Hannah Baldwin from Nottingham City Council describing how her authority has encouraged a 'cafe culture' and Nick Jones, owner of the Cafe Bohem in London on how attempts to put tables and chairs in the street outside cafes in Soho fell foul of Westminster LBC.

Cllr Cohen said: 'This conference will be a unique forum bringing together a diverse range of interests. We can learn a lot from experience en the states and the rest of Europe. Change in our licensing laws is long overdue and I hope that the 24 Hour City Conference will help to establish a consensus as to the way forward.'
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