A report published in early February suggests that the controversial Late Night Levy (LNL) – introduced in Cheltenham in 2014, could be scrapped. The scheme required all licensed premises within a designated area of the town centre to contribute if they wished to remain open after midnight. Although the first tranche of cash raised by the levy has now been distributed, it was not as much as originally forecast. The report states that less than 40% of the expected income was actually received, due in part to many premises either changing their hours so as not to incur the charge or by signing up to the various pub watch schemes such as ‘Night Safe’ or ‘Best Bar None’ which attracted a discount.
It’s not all good news though, as the LNL would be replaced by the Business Improvement District (BID) scheme, which is being led by the Cheltenham Business Partnership. That would see an increased number of premises within the area paying an extra 1.25% on their current business rates to fund similar projects. If the BID is introduced, Cheltenham Borough Council is likely to drop the Late Night Levy, although the timings are yet to be decided.