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LONDON'S 24-HOUR CULTURE COMES UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT

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Londoners are invited to air their views on the growing pressure for the capital to be open for business around the...
Londoners are invited to air their views on the growing pressure for the capital to be open for business around the clock.

Nearly 10 years of continuous economic growth in London has fuelled calls for a 24-hour city. It is estimated that around 500,000 young people regularly go clubbing in London on a Saturday night. This is more than all the people who visit London's top ten visitor attractions in a week1.

The London Assembly's culture, sport and tourism committee, is holding a series of public meetings, starting today, to gather Londoners' views on this. New licensing laws are being proposed, which could be in place by January 2003. The committee wants to ensure that public opinion is fed into these reforms2.

The assembly has invited a cross-section of London's residents, businesses, campaign organisations, boroughs and law enforcement agencies to discuss the economic and social impacts on London.

Jennette Arnold, chair of the committee, said: 'It is vital to include all Londoners in this debate. A 24-hour city could affect the whole capital. We acknowledge that businesses in London need to be open for longer, to boost the economy and retain the status of being a world-class city. However, we are aware that many residents believe the growth of late night eating and drinking has led to undesirable consequences, such as increased noise levels, crime, litter, drug related problems and public urination. A key issue in reforming the law, is to strike a balance between the needs of businesses, the economy and residents.'

The following have been invited to the committee's first meeting:

Andrew Cunningham, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Brenda Gardner, Castlehaven Community Association, Camden

Councillor Simon Milton, Leader of the Council, City of Westminster

John Mulhern, Justices' Clerks' Society

John Cryer MP, Member for Hornchurch

The Mayor has recently commissioned a technical report on planning and managing London's 24-hour economy. This report will also be subject to scrutiny by the Committee.

The committee would like to hear Londoners' views on the proposals for a 24-hour city. Write to: Gerard Phillips, Scrutiny Manager, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee, Greater London Authority, Romney House, Marsham Street, London, SW1P 3PY or email: gerard.phillips@london.gov.uk

Notes

Late-Night London: Planning and Managing the Late-Night Economy, Greater London Authority, June 2002.

The Home Office published the White Paper, 'Time for Reform: Proposals for the Modernisation of our Licensing Laws', in April 2000. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for overseeing the introduction of the proposed changes into legislation. Currently, there are over 40 different kinds of license or permission. Licensing laws regulate entry to and operation of pubs, nightclubs, theatres, restaurants, late night cafes, cinemas, and premises for public indoor and (in London) open-air entertainment generally, such as music or dancing and sports events. Licenses are granted to premises not people. Alcohol licenses are granted by JPs; entertainment and late night refreshment licenses are granted by local authorities. A single integrated scheme for licensing premises is now being proposed, to be issued by local authorities. The intention is to include a Bill 'as soon as Parliamentary time permits'. A Bill is being prepared, ready for introduction in January 2003, but it is up to the Cabinet to decide this.

Members of the Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee, are: Jennette Arnold [Chair], Angie Bray [Deputy Chair], Victor Anderson, Brian Coleman, Len Duvall and Mike Tuffrey.

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