Nottingham backs introduction of late-night levy

Street Ambassadors and Street Pastors

Nottingham council has backed plans for a late-night levy for bars, pubs and clubs but agreed to exempt those that belong to the city’s business improvement district (BID) partnership.

The full council backed its licensing committee’s recommendation for a levy to be introduced in October requiring all licensed premises to pay a fee if they are open from midnight until 6am.

The council estimates that the levy could vary from £299 to £4,440 a year, depending on the rateable value of premises and the extent to which the business relies on alcohol sales for its income.

Affecting over 260 licensed premises that sell alcohol after midnight, it will be the fifth local authority to introduce a late-night levy.

The levy will raise around £200,000 a year, split 70/30 between Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham council, to contribute towards the estimated £1.5million annual cost of policing and managing alcohol-related activities between midnight and 6am in the city. It is expected to cover extra police officers and community protection officers at night.

City council leader councillor Jon Collins said: “Nottingham is a very popular night-time destination and we want to make sure that people continue to choose to come here and are able to enjoy a safe night out when they do.

“The funds generated through a late-night levy mean that licensed premises will add to the range of activities currently funded by the public purse that have seen the city repeatedly awarded Purple Flag status in recent years, recognising Nottingham as a safe and enjoyable night out.

“We never expected the levy to be popular in the licensed trade – even though it is a modest fee which no viable business will struggle to meet – but our consultation helped us consider other aspects of implementing a levy and the exemption for BID members is evidence of that.”

The exemption of members of the city-centre BID – the first in the UK – was welcomed by Jeff Allen, chairman of the Nottingham BID which lobbied the council on behalf of its members. “It recognises the contribution that the Nottingham BID already makes to the evening economy through the various schemes and initiatives that it organises and funds and which make a real difference when it comes to people being able to enjoy a safe and enjoyable night out in the city.

“It reflects the highly effective partnership working that exists between Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire Police and the Nottingham BID too. In addition to the joint initiatives that our three organisations already collaborate on, a Community Safety Partnership Group which is coordinated by the Nottingham Crime and Drugs Partnership, has also recently been set up.

“It builds on the success of the Nottingham BID funded schemes with the aim of ensuring that our schemes continue to have a positive impact on safety and the environment in the city centre.”

The BID schemes include: the teams of Taxi Marshals, Street Ambassadors and Street Pastors; the RadioLink crime-fighting CCTV network; the opening of late-night toilets on Greyhound Street; additional cleansing of city centre streets and graffiti removal; and the provision of community safety messages.

The BID also organises the Best Bar None Awards, a national scheme supported by the Home Office that promotes the responsible management and operation of licenced premises and, after a rigorous assessment process, provides accreditation for those that meet the required standards.

In conjunction with Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire Police, the Nottingham BID has also been instrumental in helping Nottingham retain its Purple Flag status, a national accreditation scheme that recognises excellence in the management of town and city centres at night.

The Nottingham BID has guaranteed to continue to fund these schemes until late 2015 at the earliest which marks the end of the BID’s first term. So long as the Nottingham BID is then renewed by its members for a further five years, BID’s contribution will work out as over £1.2million over six years.

Pictured: Nottingham BID street ambassadors and street pastors

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