This recent move from Hackney Council comes hot on the heels of both Madame JoJo’s and The Joiner’s Arms buckling under the pressure of property developers; highlighting just how under-threat London’s nightlife has become in recent years. The east end has been enduring a series of regulations referred to as a ‘Special Policy Area’ since as early as 2005 (Dalston fell to these rules in 2013). It’s important to note that the heavily restrictive guidelines enforced under the SPA operate in opposition to the 81% of residents who voted against it.
The proposals outline that bars, pubs and clubs would only be allowed to stay open until 11pm Sunday-Thursday and 12am at weekends. The new policy would also severely prohibit new late night venues from opening, particularly clubs, dance and music venues – these establishments are unlikely to be considered ‘appropriate’ venues by the council, meaning unless it was under ‘exceptional circumstances’, the application would be rejected.
Although these regulations would only affect new businesses opening in the area, cutting the flow of venues runs the risk of starving the community of fresh cultural outlets and spots of reimagined expression.
It’s just become a hell of a lot easier for future big ideas and progressive concepts to be cut down by a letter from council.
In the eyes of Hackney’s venue owners, these new regulations will do little to tackle crime. Dan Beaumont, the man responsible for Dalston Superstore, Voodoo Rays and Dance Tunnel told the Dalstonist recently “I’ve looked at crime maps and, as far as I can tell, the largest numbers of crimes in Dalston happen in the car park of Sainsbury’s and in Gillett Square”.