Late-night levy on pubs and clubs a possibility in Hartlepool

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LICENSING chiefs have agreed to explore charging a late-night levy on licensed premises to help tackle alcohol-related problems in the town.

It follows a report to the council’s licensing committee from the town’s director of Public Health Louise Wallace.

After unanimously voting against adopting an EMRO, councillors have agreed to look into the possibility of introducing the Late Night Levy.

The council will, however, carry out some further work to look into the feasibility of introducing a late night levy.

This would enable the council to levy a charge on licensed premises staying open late with the money used to help cover council and police costs.

Coun George Morris, chairman of the licensing committee, said: “The licensing committee was pleased to see that violent crime has reduced so significantly since 2006 but there is no room for complacency.

“We do not accept that violence should be seen as an inevitable or acceptable consequence of a vibrant night time economy and, as such, both the council and Cleveland Police will continue to work closely with licence holders to make the town centre a safer place.”

The committee asked for officers to investigate the feasibility of adopting a ‘late night levy’ which is a tool available to local councils in certain circumstances and this will be discussed at a future meeting.

Coun Ray Martin-Wells, chairman of the council’s audit and governance committee, which asked the licensing committee earlier this month to look at measures to tackle drink-related issues in the town centre, said: “The Audit and Governance Committee were concerned after the affects late night licences were having on crime and disorder in the town centre.

“I fully understand the reasons why the council will not be pursuing an EMRO at this stage but I am pleased that there are going to be further discussions with the licensed trade and steps to explore the Late Night Levy to make the town centre a safer place for townspeople and visitors.”