Community groups fear a plan to extend pub and bar opening hours will still go ahead, even after a meeting to debate it was cancelled.

Camden Council's licensing committee was due to discuss changes to its policy on January 25, but cancelled it at the last minute for "further engagement" after objections from senior police officers and the community.

The town hall has drawn up a five-year strategy that could also allow pubs to stay open an hour later - with 'framework hours' extended until midnight from Monday to Thursday and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

It would also scrap policies automatically limiting the numbers of licensed venues within designated areas to prevent noise and disturbance.

Community groups including the Kentish Town Road Association and Tenants’ and Resident’s Association of Camden Town had all objected, and some claim the meeting was stopped because the Metropolitan Police were not consulted.

Jos Vernon, secretary of the Primrose Hill Residents Association, who were due to speak at the meeting, said they welcomed the council's apparent U-turn but feared it would come back with similar proposals.

"It seems quite likely it will be a delay rather than a defeat," he said.

"I believe the police are talking to Camden because they weren't consulted in the first place."

He said the council was taking a "one size fits all" approach for licensing hours, adding "Primrose Hill is not Soho".

A blanket change could cause "immense disruption" in residential neighbourhoods and pubs and restaurants would take up the new hours because they are "profit maximizing institutions".

"It is a brave landlord who will tell his brewery he does not need the extra business," he added.

A Camden Council spokesperson said they needed to support good businesses to thrive and enable music and cultural venues to survive in difficult economic times and also "deal more robustly" with badly-run venues.

They said they were proposing policies to address all these areas that would be finalised following a full public consultation.

“We have received feedback about our draft policy, and before starting the consultation process formally, we will undertake additional engagement with statutory partners, in particular with the Metropolitan Police to look in depth at evidence and data they can provide," they added.

They said a full report will be presented to the licensing committee at a future date which will be followed by a 12-week consultation period.