Town Hall plans new licensing policy after huge loss of venues

Camden Town Hall.

Camden Council is planning to retool its licensing policy, signalling its awareness of the “challenge” faced by the evening and night-time economy (ENTE) as venues struggle to stay open.

According to Town Hall figures, Holborn and Covent Garden have experienced a reduction in venues of two thirds between 2007 and 2017, double the overall London rate, with a 21 per cent loss in Camden Town and Primrose Hill.

The council points to a “particular risk” for venues aimed at women, BAME and LGBTQI+ groups, as it aims to consult on the adoption of a “strong, strategic narrative” around the ENTE, which is worth 2.3 per cent of Camden’s economy, by early 2021.

A council report on the issue reads: “Camden’s evening and night time economy is one of the largest in the country, with a turnover of £955.9m.

“Historically, discussions around the ENTE in London have been in the context of crime and disorder, within a framework of licensing, regulation and policing.

“In the past ten years however, cities across Europe and the US have started to address the notion of the 24-hour city and its potential for growth, developing strategic plans and policy interventions to support this.

“The key driver has been international competiveness, revenues from tourism and a perception that a strong and well managed ENTE can contribute to the broad ‘liveability’ and wellbeing of cities.”

Camden hosts the second highest number of licensed premises in London, after Westminster.

The Town Hall is now set to develop a new strategy over the next year, working with “stakeholders” in the area while underlining good practice and safe trading behaviours.

The document will be aimed at supporting ENTE traders and workers, with an event planned this year to bring consultees together to get a “range of perspectives” on the strategy.