Tower Hamlets has backed down on its decision to introduce a late night levy, described as flawed and unfair by its opponents.
The levy was due to be introduced on 1 June, and would apply to premises that sell alcohol between midnight and 6am. The council claims it costs £336,752 a year to police night time ‘issues’ in the area, with approximately 200 alcohol-related ambulance call-outs per month in the borough.
However, the ALMR, alongside licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen, Sarah Clover of Kings Chambers Birmingham and Charles Streeten of Francis Taylor Buildings, challenged what it called ‘significant flaws and failings’ in the consultation process.
According to the ALMR, the Council has now accepted that it did not conduct the mandatory consultation on the implementation date for the levy and that its documents were worded in such a way as to confuse consultees and were likely to mislead them.
‘Tower Hamlets Council’s consultation on its late night levy was flawed and denied businesses in the area a chance to engage knowing all the facts,’ ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said.
‘Local authorities are required by law to propose a start date for the levy, which Tower Hamlets did not do. It also showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the legislation when it stated that any levy would only be applicable to those premises selling alcohol after midnight.
‘The Council may not have intentionally sought to deceive businesses, but the reality is that the consultation document omitted crucial information that was required by businesses to make an informed decision.
‘The ALMR and Poppleston Allen’s work has ensured that a late night levy was not introduced on the back of faulty procedure.’
Nicholls added that the Council will be forced to consult again if it still wishes to introduce the measure in the area.