Now, when it comes to enjoying a late drink in the city centre, Our Journalist Friend (aka OldEngland) is anything but a killjoy. Many’s the time, etc etc.
However, things do take on rather a different complexion when one’s bedroom window is situated a mere 120 feet away from the nearest late-licensed bar. A bar which sits on the same strip as several equally lively late-opening establishments, all in competition for the same group of high-octane, high-spending young pleasure seekers. All of this in an area (Nottingham’s Lace Market) which has been heavily promoted as our hottest, most aspirational “city living” residential zone – but which is now being equally heavily promoted as a centre for our glammiest, glitziest “destination” bars and clubs.
Such is the fallout of the UK’s newly relaxed licensing laws, where it has become incumbent upon aggrieved residents to file their own individual objections to each individual establishment. By doing so, they will find themselves entering a Kafka-esque minefield of bureaucratic obstructions, and batlling against a system which would appear, whether by accident or design, to be heavily weighted against them.
Amongst the many and various obstacles which lie in their way, one in particular stands out: that if an objection should fail in court, then the complainants are liable to have the full costs of the case awarded against them. This is, shall we say, hardly an incentive for active citizenship.
Our Journalist Friend – a well-connected fellow, with a background in the law and the ear of many of the city’s great and good – has managed to take his struggle for a peaceful night’s sleep much further than most. Yesterday, he even succeeded in gaining a half-hour’s audience with the relevant cabinet minister. However, such victories should be measured against the innumerable frustrations which have beset him at every turn, some of which have been detailed in this article which he penned for the Nottingham Evening Post.
To those of you who, like me, live in nice quiet streets where nothing ever happens past midnight: read it, and give thanks for your good fortune.