Late-night charges unlikely for pubs in Warwick district

Pubs and clubs.
Pubs and clubs.

Late-night levies for pubs and other drinking establishments which stay open past midnight in Leamington will come under consideration next week.

But Warwick District Council officers have recommended that neither a consultation into the introduction of levies or the actual implementation of such a scheme should not take place at this time.

And when the matter goes before the full council at a meeting on Wednesday it is likely that councillors will vote against progressing to a consultation stage.

A report to the council made by officers says: “It is officer opinion that the value of the revenue generation to the council of late-night levies or early-morning restriction orders is extremely limited due to the time consuming and 
resource-hungry implementation phase.

“There is a risk that the night-time economy of the district may be adversely impacted by the introduction of extra fees. Business opinion has been that late-night levies or early-morning restriction orders should be a last resort and are divisive by nature.

“By their nature the fees are contradictory to the 
prosperity-growth agenda.”

The report also states that it is likely that any decision to implement either the levies or the restrictions would be challenged by judicial review either by individual premises or a group of premises and that a consultation process between a council in the north-west of England ‘drove a wedge’ between licensees, the police and itself.

Late-night levies must be adopted by the entire area a council oversees and the times for which they would apply - such as from midnight to 6am for example - are also set by the authority.

A minimum of 70 per cent of the net proceeds generated by levies must go to the police, although they would have no requirement to spend this money in the district or on the night-time economy.

The remaining 30 per cent would be spent by the council on relevant crime prevention.

Rates are set by central government and are based on the non-dependent domestic rateable value of a premises.

They can range from £229 to £4,440 annually and are paid in addition to annual premises licence fees .