PROPOSALS for a tax which would charge pubs and clubs in the Cotswolds for serving alcohol past midnight have been thrown out by district council.
Members of Cotswold District Council’s licensing committee chose not to adopt the Late Night Levy or Early Morning Restriction Order at its most recent meeting on Tuesday, February 4.
The levy, which would charge pubs and clubs to cover the cost of policing alcohol related anti-social behaviour during the early hours, is currently only used by two councils in the country; Newcastle City Council and Cheltenham Borough Council.
The council in Cheltenham estimates that the levy will generate an income of around £200,000 every year.
Amanda Morgan, commercial manager at CDC, advised members that if the tax was introduced it could cause unforeseen problems for the community.
“If the Licensing Authority was to introduce a levy in the centre of a town, it could lead to late night drinking venues opening in ‘edge of town centre’ locations,” she said.
“Thereby, this could lead to crime, disorder or public nuisance in adjacent residential areas.”
She also explained to members that the introduction would likely be subject to controversy and legal challenges by licensed venues in the Cotswolds.
A report issued to members noted that the tax would be unnecessary because out of the 130 licences premises in the district, there were only “occasionally some alcohol-related problems late at night in Cirencester.”
The committee voted unanimously in favour of the officer’s recommendation to not adopt the charges and to also work closely with local police to monitor alcohol-related crime.
Cllr Margaret Rickman (Lib Dem, Chesterton proposed that the introduction of the levy be reviewed on annual basis.
“I think that as the towns in the Cotswolds grow, this could become the way that things inevitably end up,” she said.
The proposal was given the unanimous support by all the committee members.