Gloucestershire

Cheltenham pubs and clubs to pay late-night levy

Discarded takeaway wrapper with a pint of lager, left on steps Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some of the money will be used for street cleaning

Pubs and clubs in Cheltenham that serve alcohol after midnight will now have to pay a charge towards policing and cleaning up the streets.

It is the second place in the country to bring in a "late-night levy" after Newcastle introduced the charge in November last year.

The charge of between £299 and £4,440 a year will be paid by venues selling alcohol between midnight and 06:00.

It has been criticised by some businesses as being a "hidden tax".

Gordon Duff, from John Gordons Wine and Whisky Bar in Montpellier, said the charge was unfair.

"We don't have any problems here, we never have done and hopefully we never will do," he said.

"In terms of the police, we don't need them, in terms of the litter, we clean up, so I don't quite see why we should be paying for something we don't need in the first place."

Not punitive measure

Max Wright, assistant general manager of Soho bar, added: "I don't usually notice too much litter around the area, so the littering thing is definitely something that I wouldn't put more money into.

"Police funding I am all for. We do need the police force and their help sometimes."

Cheltenham Borough Council said the levy was expected to raise about £200,000 with 70% going to the police and 30% retained by the council to spend on preventing public nuisance and cleaning the streets.

Louis Krog, the council's licensing officer, said: "The late-night levy has never been intended to be a punitive measure."

Southampton, Plymouth, Leeds and York are also considering introducing a levy.

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