We’ve increased our membership from an initial team of 8 to over 500 people living in and around Blackheath.
We’ve kept an information network running effectively for over six years to inform local residents about new late licence applications since we started the group. In the twelve months following the introduction of the new 24 licensing rules, activity in this area was huge. More than eight premises in the village made frequent applications to increase their opening hours. Without BVRG, many neighbours would not have been aware of these applications. The significant increase in individual objection letters from our members against these later hours applications encouraged some of the breweries to withdraw their applications even before the council hearing. The few licences that were granted have mostly had a number of restrictions included with them to help preserve the quality of life for local neighbours. Our efforts have definitely helped to prevent Blackheath becoming even more of a late night drinking venue.
2007 culminated in the success of our campaign to establish a Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ) in Blackheath village. This was only achieved through more than four years of effort by BVRG members, two generations of local councillors, local political parties, local police teams and the Blackheath Society and its members. BVRG is proud that its efforts have led to the successful declaration of the CIZ, and the committee would like to thank all members who have been supporting us over this long period of time. This now means that, by default, Lewisham Council will now refuse licensing applications if the applicant cannot demonstrate that there will not be an adverse impact on the people living in the CIZ. (Without a CIZ, the default is to grant applications).
We’ve increased the community spirit in Blackheath through our information network of neighbours. Our campaigns have mobilised local people and our social events have got neighbours together including two birthday parties and four AGMs so far.
We’ve liaised regularly with the licensing and planning departments at both Councils (Greenwich and Lewisham) on behalf of our members. We’ve also spent the last six years meeting and talking on a regular basis with our local police, councillors, MP and local landlords.