I spent several cold hours out in Colchester last Saturday night as part of the Castle Ward night of action. Since I’ve been a councillor, I’ve been out in the town centre on Friday and Saturday nights several times to see what happens there, and I know that the issue of the night-time economy is something that generates lots of opinions in lots of different quarters, so here’s a few of my thoughts on it.
These are based mainly on my experience and knowledge of Colchester and they’re not intended to be definitive pronouncements – I’d welcome any comments or discussion people want to add in the comments. There’s a whole lot of other issues tied up in the night-time economy, but I can’t going into full detail on everything, because this is a blog post and not a book!
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Following the day of action in the ward on Thursday, there was a night of action in and around the town centre last night. Unlike the day of action, this was something we couldn’t tell people about before because advance knowledge of it happening could have affected the success of it. (It’s hard to catch people who’ve been reported to be persistently breaching regulations if they’ve been forewarned of a visit)
All three of us ward councillors – along with members of the Council’s Licensing Committee – were out during the night, travelling around the town centre with police and licensing officers at different times, getting to see what the town is like throughout the night. We were there to see the way the whole night develops, starting around 9pm and not finishing until after 3am.
I’m going to write a longer blog post about this later (hopefully today) but I wanted to let people know that it happened, and that a lot of issues were dealt with, and several others investigated. The licensing team I was with were expecting to have a lot of work for themselves in the next few weeks as a result, and there are lots of issues that we as councillors need to be following up on and dealing with.
The Gazette have a report on the night here.