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We gave late licenses, so where's the café culture?

PUBLISHED: 10:02 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:12 23 August 2010

KB4301	15-02-07	Gravesend	Michael Snelling

KB4301 15-02-07 Gravesend Michael Snelling

GREATER controls over alcohol licensing applications are needed to clean up the night time economy , according to the council leader. As part of a bid to make the town more family friendly, Gravesham Borough Council leader Mike Snelling hopes a change i

GREATER controls over alcohol licensing applications are needed to clean up the "night time economy", according to the council leader.

As part of a bid to make the town more family friendly, Gravesham Borough Council leader Mike Snelling hopes a change in government will give it a chance to reduce the number of late night pubs in the town.

He said: "We hope before the next 12 months are out, there will be much more power given to local authorities with regard to their own town centre and in particular over licensing laws.

"Fairly relaxed licensing laws are not as successful as we have hoped and have failed to produce the café culture."

He pointed in particular to the proposed conversion to Gala Bingo hall into a nightclub and his opposition to it.

"At the moment I don't have the power to direct the feelings of the public on issues with licensing," he said.

In particular, Mr Snelling is keen to reinvent the town centre as a family friendly place, and to do so the borough council will be conducting a series of consultations to discover people's views on what they want for the town.

The council and police are also carrying out a street audit which will look at everything in the town from signs to notice boards, railings and pavements to attempt to improve Gravesend's image.

One of the main areas targeted is the promenade and Riverside Leisure Area. More CCTV cameras will be installed there and plans are underway to develop and improve facilities by next spring.

Shops, restaurants and other businesses will also be encouraged to use a 'Family Friendly Gravesend' logo to help promote offers and activities aimed at mums, dads and children.

Mr Snelling said: "It is vital that we do more to attract families. Gravesend is a safe town and has many advantages, not least its wonderful riverside location.

"We genuinely want to start a wide-ranging debate on what can be done and what people want.

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