Council wants to turn off the Dalston and Stokey buzz.
That is the inference to be drawn from its announcement to Loving Dalston yesterday Tuesday 10 August 2010 of a scheme that would extend “the successful SPA (special policy area) in Shoreditch” and introduce two SPAs in “the town-centre areas of Dalston and Stoke Newington.
What is an SPA? A council official said that under an SPA, businesses applying for a new licence “must prove that they will not make problems in the area worse.
“They must demonstrate the practical ways they will work to help create safe, lively town centres where the needs of businesses are balanced with the needs of residents and visitors, so everyone can enjoy a better quality of life”.
New-agey waffle, but the official gives an example: “Some pubs in Shoreditch were required… under the SPA to use plastic glasses in outside areas; keep doors closed during live music performances; or add seated areas to help slow the pace of drinking.
“Since Shoreditch’s SPA began operating in 2005, the area has seen a 20 per cent reduction in alcohol-related crime.”
The timing of the announcement is unfortunate. Some of Hackney’s most popular pubs are fighting to survive; see story below on Prince George, summoned to the licensing court yesterday 10 August. Was that the day to suggest ways of restricting those that survive?
Perhaps it is and publicans will want to move their premises downmarket to attract the kind of customers who use glass pint jars as weapons.
Sophie Linden, a councillor for Dalston ward, evinces no doubts. She says: “Dalston and Stoke Newington now need to be within an SPA.”
The council says it wants to consult the public on this and is seeking responses until 25 October 2010.