Gloucester City Council is gearing up to vote on plans to introduce a late-night levy in the area on March 23rd. Under the proposals, pubs, bars and clubs that trade in the early hours would be required to pay a fee, with 30 per cent of the money raised going to the council and the remaining 70 per cent going to the police.
The proceeds would then be used to fund maintaining the city’s streets and policing the late-night economy, GloucestershireLive reports.
181 establishments in Gloucester are currently licensed to sell alcohol between midnight and 06:00.
As a result, nearly £155,000 could be generated if all these businesses pay the fees that are being proposed.
If the council backs the plans, a late-night levy could be put in place from as early as July 1st.
Richard Graham, Gloucester’s MP, is a keen advocate of the policy. He insisted that Gloucester wants “all the fun our night-time venues can bring” and acknowledged that “most people enjoy them responsibly”.
However, he said he thinks it is time that businesses “contribute to the clean-up of broken glass and food on the street”.
Another option currently being considered is creating a Business Improvement District (BID) in Gloucester, which would apply to different types of businesses, rather than exclusively licensed premises.
This could either be adopted alongside the late-night levy or as an alternative to this measure.
The idea of creating a BID currently appears to be more popular with the licensed trade and a vote on the plans will be held in July.
If they are backed by more than half of businesses in the area, they will be put in place.
Justin Hudson, chairman of the Licensed Victuallers Association in Gloucester, stated that most businesses want to see the BID adopted on its own, without the late-night levy being imposed at the same time.
He said he is “extremely confident that the BID will be 100 per cent embraced by the day and night-time economies”.
However, he insisted that if Gloucester City Council votes in favour of the late-night levy, it must delay implementing it until after the BID vote has taken place.
Mr Hudson said it would be pointless for the authority to vote on the levy, administer it and then see the BID be introduced.
He added that there would also be a risk of people becoming “disengaged”, as those who pay the late-night levy might not want to contribute to a BID as well.
Gloucester City Council has stressed that both options are currently on the table at the moment.
Councillor Jennie Watkins, deputy leader of the authority, said the process for the late-night levy has commenced “in recognition that we need to raise funds and work closely together with partners to achieve a safer city”.
She stressed that businesses play an important part in city life and that the council does “a lot of great work with them as partners”.
However, she said the council cannot foot the entire bill for achieving its “vision on how we want the city to be” and that businesses must “financially contribute”.
Cllr Watkins added that she is confident “we will end up with an outcome where we raise more important funds for the city”.
For further information on any of the points raised in this article please contact Robert Botkai in our Licensing Department