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London’s night czar responds to criticism following Hackney curfew decision 

By | Published on Thursday 26 July 2018

Amy Lamé

London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé has responded to criticism thrown in her direction in the wake of the news Hackney Council has decided to introduce a new 11pm curfew – midnight at the weekend – on pubs, clubs, bars and venues in the London borough.

The new rule means that night-time businesses wanting to trade beyond 11pm will need to demonstrate that they won’t have a negative impact on their local neighbourhood by doing so. The local authority’s new restrictions have been widely criticised by those operating bars and venues in the borough, which includes nightspot hubs like Shoreditch and Dalston.

Lamé was appointed by London mayor Sadiq Khan to be a champion and defender of the capital’s night-time economy. But her boss often doesn’t have direct powers over the key issues hindering night-time businesses, with licensing decisions being made by the local councils in London, rather than City Hall. Nevertheless, many felt Hackney’s curfew decision contradicted Lamé and Khan’s regular bigging up of the capital’s nightlife and wider cultural industries.

Following a particularly scathing opinion piece in NME – titled ‘Amy Lamé: what exactly is the point of you?’ – she penned a response. In it she runs through the various things she reckons have been achieved since the job of London Night Czar was created, before explaining the limitations of the role. However, she adds, the fact various things have been achieved despite those limitations means she is “optimistic about finding a way forward for Hackney’s night life”.

Lamé explains: “Licensing policy is, by law, a matter for local authorities. Neither I nor the mayor have the power to tell local authorities what to do or not to do on licensing issues. However, my role is to help get everyone to sit around the table, talking together, to represent the needs of the night-time economy in those conversations, and ultimately to find a solution that works for everyone. I’ve used this convening power on a number of different issues from Croydon to Waltham Forest, Newham to Kingston – and it really can work”.

“Shoreditch and Dalston’s night-time economy are the envy of the world”, she goes on. “I know both Hackney Council and its businesses and residents want to protect its vibrancy, while making sure it works for those who live in the area. I have been listening to and understand local people and businesses’ concerns about the new licensing policy. I share many of them. That’s why I have asked Hackney for an urgent meeting to see if it is possible to work out a solution that protects the local community whilst making sure London doesn’t go backwards in its progress towards becoming a truly 24 hour city. I’m sure there is a positive way forward”.

Concluding, she states: “I’m proud to be a Londoner and be the Night Czar for the most vibrant and diverse city in the world. I will carry on working – both night and day – to make sure ours is a city that thrives at night for everyone”.



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