By Linus Rees
Camden Council is changing the way residents are consulted on licensing applications. From Thursday 28 April the council will no longer write to residents living near to premises where a licence application has been made. Residents will instead be expected to sign up to email or text alerts.
Camden say they will cease to distribute householder consultation letters sent to each household within 50 metres of any premises where a licensing application has been made. Licensing applications cover the sale of alcohol, tables and chairs located outside venues, and for late night refreshment venues.
Camden claim these changes are “improvements” and will make the consultation process “faster and easier”.
The Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association (FNA) and Charlotte Street Association (CSA) have contacted Camden Council asking for letters to continue to be sent to residents in Fitzrovia as expecting people to actively look out for licence applications or sign up to computer alerts is not workable.
The FNA and the CSA do make representations on behalf of residents but it is very important that individual residents respond to consultations.
The FNA and CSA fear that many people who do not use the internet or have a mobile phone will be excluded from the consultation process. Even tech savvy users may not actively seek information about possible applications. The FNA fears that some applications could be approved without residents being consulted.
Fitzrovia is subject to new licensing applications at the rate of one a month and the neighbourhood is under great commercial pressure. If there are to be barriers to consultation put in place, then there should also be barriers to licensing applications.
To receive email and text alerts, residents should visit Camden Council’s website camden.gov.uk/licensingalerts and sign up by following the online instructions. Residents and amenity groups can also get a weekly list of all licensing applications in Camden by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details.
Help with signing up for email and text alerts is available at St Pancras Library from 1pm to 3pm on Tuesday 12 April, at Kentish Town Library from 2pm to 4pm on Wednesday 20 April, and also from Camden’s customer support team by telephoning 020 7974 5613.