Policy Overview

The Licensing Act 2003 (the Act) governs the application of sales of alcohol, certain forms of entertainment and the provision of hot food and drink between 23:00 – 05:00 hours. Camden Council acts as the Licensing Authority under the Act, and is responsible for the implementation of functions under it.

Under the provisions of the Act, the Licensing Authority is required to publish a statement of licensing policy every five years. Camden’s current statement of licensing policy took effect from the 31st of January 2016, and expires on the 30th of January 2022. Camden’s policy is therefore required to be renewed.

Policy Consultation

The policy must be updated to ensure the Licensing Authority can effectively continue to exercise its duties under the Act. The continuing updating of the policy also ensures the Licensing Authority’s practices and procedures are up to date, changes to legislation are taken into account, and the policy continues to work to promote the licensing objectives, support business and protect Camden’s residents.

The licensing objectives which the policy is expected to uphold are:

  • The prevention of crime & disorder;
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • Public safety;
  • The protection of children from harm

Part of the policy review is to undertake a statutory consultation on the draft licensing policy. This consultation is open to all, and will run from the 2nd of August 2021 until the 24th of October 2021.

Cumulative Impact Areas

The policy review is also accompanied by a Cumulative Impact Assessment and Summary Report which detail evidential support for the existing Cumulative Impact Areas in Seven Dials and Camden Town.

The Cumulative Impact Areas in Seven Dials and Camden Town were initially brought in to address the potential negative impact of the large number of licensed premises concentrated within these areas could have on the licensing objectives. The belief being that additional licensed venues and / or the extension of hours for existing premises could create problems within these areas – otherwise known as cumulative impact. The policy provides a rebuttable presumption that all such applications within these areas should be refused.

Policy Considerations

The policy review is undertaken at an unprecedented time for the country, and indeed for the licensed trade. It is against that backdrop of lockdowns, local restrictions, closures and onerous restrictions on operations at licensed venues the policy redevelopment is required. The impacts of the pandemic and the resulting restrictions on business and the night time economy are not yet clear, and any trends resulting from this are yet to fully emerge.

With this in mind, the Council does not believe that a full policy review would be appropriate at this time. The policy must be renewed every five years, and as such this policy will be renewed before the current one expires on the 30th of January 2021. However, this policy review will be minimal in nature, with very few changes from the existing policy.

Future of Licensing Policy

This 'interim' review is undertaken with the intention of reviewing the policy again over the next 12 – 18 months. During this period further data will be gathered to inform a root and branch policy review, looking to take into account the full effect of the pandemic on Camden, and the licenced trade as a whole. During this period we intend to:

  • Gather more data for the cumulative impact assessment;
  • Take part in stakeholder engagement;
  • Review changes to the hospitality sector and night time economy;
  • Engage in a further policy review consultations

This will allow an extensive review of the policy taking into account developments resulting from the pandemic, and to be able to produce an updated policy which is fit for purpose in a post-covid world.

To comment on the changes to the existing policy as published on this page, please write in to licensingenquiry@camden.gov.uk.