The new licensing policy in Hackney has caused consternation in a number of quarters, and indeed raises a number of questions. Not least the place and purpose of consultation, when its results are largely ignored. 

Moreover, it reveals a wider gap. Hackney assert that the new policy aligns with the Mayor of London’s 24 hour vision for the city. Although that position is pretty thin, it is just about sustainable within the current legal framework. There is no requirement to specify what kind of night-time economy Hackney Council is in fact seeking. Other, that is, than by reference to the negative: what they don’t want. 

That is a gap that could be voluntarily filled, but in default it would be for National Government to require it of councils, most logically within regional or national policy frameworks. 

If that were combined with generally improving links between Environmental, Licensing, and Planning policies, such a change would, I suggest, make for a more positive, and arguably less divisive, approach to the night time economy.