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Panel want more flexibility to tackle Windsor's night-time economy problems

Panel want more flexibility to tackle Windsor's night-time economy problems

Philip Dewey

Panel want more flexibility to tackle Windsor's night-time economy problems

A proposal to launch a campaign to change national licensing legislation in relation to the night-time economy will go before the Royal Borough cabinet.

The crime and disorder overview and scrutiny panel voted unanimously to put forward a report advocating the formation of a lobbying campaign to give authorities more flexibility in addressing problems with the night-time economy.

The panel previously considered introducing Late Night Levy (LNL), a borough wide tax on businesses selling alcohol between 12pm and 6pm, to help fund the policing of the night-time economy, which would generate £345,370 in the Royal Borough.

This was rejected by the panel on the grounds the burden of the charge would fall on Maidenhead and Ascot despite the problem being concentrated in Windsor.

They also said it would penalise businesses who did not contribute to the problem.

The early morning restriction order (EMRO), which allows authorities to restrict the sale of alcohol within a specified area, was also rejected on the grounds that it would penalise all patrons in the area.

Problems of displacement to other areas and shared closing times of premises were highlighted.

Speaking at last night's meeting at Maidenhead Town Hall, panel chairman Cllr David Hilton (Con, Ascot and Cheapside) said: "The view on the EMRO is that council in general were fearful of damaging their local economy and there was also an issue of displacement.

"We believe a different system which gives the authority to local councils to manage their own licensing affairs would be a more satisfactory method rather than leaving us with the problem of trying to sort out this mess."

Cllr Hilton went on to say that lobbying for more targeted action would avoid negative consequences of the existing regime and would be more beneficial for business and householders.

Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) said: "We have looked at the LNL and EMRO and they don't work. I don't want to see the issue in Windsor parked, let’s have an investigation into what else we can do."

The proposal is due to go before cabinet on February 27.

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