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Backing for a late night levy on nightspots
6:10am Tuesday 10th December 2013 in News
PLANS to charge Colchester nightspots for opening into the early hours of the morning have taken one step closer after they were backed by all councillors.
The council agreed to look into introducing the late night levy, which could see the largest clubs paying more than £4,000 a year extra towards making the town centre safer.
A motion, which received unanimous backing, was put forward by Will Quince, Tory group leader.
Mr Quince also revealed nightspots could be eligible for a one third reduction on the charge if they agree to follow rules set out by the council, which could include nightspots having to switch to plastic bottles and glasses.
He said: “This is an opportunity to do something I know a lot of people are keen on, to encourage a switch to polycarbonate glasses and bottles. We can say ‘if you make that switch, then you can get the discount’.
“It is absolutely vital if we are going to reduce incidents in the town centre at night.”
He added: “This is not just another tax, it is a local measure to address a specific problem.
“It will help fund the SOS Bus and fund additional crime prevention measures in our town.”
The move has been criticised by some pub landlords, who say they already pay enough business rates to fund policing without having to fork out extra cash.
Tim Young, leader of the Colchester Labour group, backed the plans and called for links to be established between Colchester and Newcastle, where the late-night levy was introduced last month, so the levy’s effectiveness could be monitored.
The issue will be added to the brief of a special task and finish group set up to investigate the cause of alcoholfuelled antisocial behaviour in Colchester town centre.
It is due to publish a report in March.
It is anticipated venues will be charged according to their rateable value.
The smallest pubs would pay £299, while the largest venue would pay up to £4,400.
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