A controversial proposal by Hackney Council to change its licensing policy so new pubs and bars would be forced to close at 11pm, has been dropped at the last minute.
The authority will re-adopt current guidance, and "re-consult on a updated draft policy to be adopted later next year". It blames a "minor error" in the published consultation document (the part relating to pubs having to close at 11pm), and has withdrawn the document.
"We want to ensure that everyone who takes the time to respond to any council consultation can have confidence that they did so with the full facts," says Cllr Emma Plouviez, licensing chair at the council. The flood of responses received on the consultation "will be analysed and used to help shape the policy for consultation next year".
"We needed to decide whether to correct the mistake and extend the current consultation, or take the opportunity to take a step back and re-consult on a new draft policy that we hope both residents and businesses will be able to support.
"Hackney’s creative and night time economy is famous worldwide and brings valuable investment and employment into the borough, but first and foremost Hackney is a place for people to live. Balancing the needs of the night time economy with the rights of our residents to live in a peaceful and safe environment is one of the biggest challenges facing our borough.
"We want to reach a resolution that does just this, so we’re going to be asking residents and businesses to join in an open discussion on where we go from here. We have already met with residents and business groups, but it’s clear we need to listen further to all voices and opinions, and we plan to host a debate on this later in the autumn.
"We hope that residents, visitors and businesses will join us to help shape a licensing policy for Hackney, which everyone can understand and get behind."
Dan Beaumont, founder of Dalston Superstore, and a member of the We Love Hackney campaign, said: "Hackney’s diverse night time economy has brought jobs and investment — but more importantly it has made Hackney a better, more exciting place to live.
"Night clubs that close at 11pm aren't night clubs. It's totally bizarre that Hackney Council cannot understand the damage this policy will do — without solving any of the problems they complain about.
"With a new consultation due next year, the threat to Hackney has not yet gone away. We want the council to celebrate the fact that the most innovative and exciting new venues and businesses choose Hackney, rather than deliberately driving them away."