The Company Inn in Nottingham has been successful in its application to reduce licensing hours to avoid being hit with an annual charge of £2,730. Nottingham City Council licensing committee agreed to vary the licence removing authorisation to sell alcohol after midnight, for as long as the levy is in force. However should already be withdrawn in the city Wetherspoon’s will have to give 28 days notice to police before its original licence will be restored.
The Late Night Levy will see bars and clubs which open after midnight help contribute towards the cost of night-time policing in the city, estimated to cost almost £1.5 million a year.
The city council has said it expected 20 per cent of all premises in the city to alter their licences to avoid paying the charge which comes into force in November. The authority has already received 80 applications to vary licences to avoid the charge.
The levy will see pubs charged up to £4,440 with the money split between the city council and Nottinghamshire Police.
The council has said the money will be used to fund two community protection officers who will work in the city centre.
Members of the Nottingham Business Improvement District petitioned the council to be exempt from the charge and this was granted, however the Company Inn sits outside the Nottingham BID area.
Director of Nottingham’s Crime and Drugs Partnership, Peter Moyes, said: “The number of people using the city during that time is quite limited and the number of businesses that are open during that time is also quite limited.
“We feel that the businesses that benefit from that extra service should be paying for it.
“There’s nine businesses that would pay £12.16 per night, that’s less than a cost of a bottle of wine. We think the bulk of the businesses would be paying either £2.10 or £3.44 a night – 27 businesses would probably pay £2.10 per night and 34 businesses would pay £3.44 a night.
“We are not asking the earth or for something that is beyond their means to pay.”
Council leader Jon Collins, said: “Nottingham is a very popular night-time destination and we want to make sure that people continue to choose to come here and are able to enjoy a safe night out when they do.
“We never expected the Levy to be popular in the licensed trade, even though it is a modest fee which no viable business will struggle to meet