A row has broken out over plans to boost Camden’s nightlife by allowing pubs to open later.

The Labour-run council last month published proposals to relax some licensing policies restricting the hours and locations in which venues like pubs and clubs can operate.

While the Night Time Industries Association has welcomed the plans, community groups spoke out in opposition, fearing increased noise and crime.

Concerns are also understood to have been raised by the police, prompting the council to withdraw the draft policies.

But critics of the plans believe they will come back in similar form.

Barbara Brownlee, CEO of social housing provider Soho Housing Association, said her residents were worried about noise, crime and "hundreds if not thousands of people streaming around their front doors being sick, kicking off ".

The council had proposed extending Camden’s ‘framework hours’ – the period when licensed venues are not generally expected to take extra steps to prevent crime and “public nuisance” such as by ensuring “the orderly dispersal of customers”. For nightclubs, hours would be extended from midnight to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.

The extended hours would apply to new licence applications, while existing venues would have to reapply if they wished to operate longer within the expanded framework.

Ms Brownlee said better ways of supporting the night economy would be more police, more street-cleaning, and better public transport at night. The plan’s several other opponents include the Bloomsbury Association, Seven Dials Trust, Covent Garden Community Association and Kentish Town Road Association.

Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill praised the plan, calling it “a balanced approach to nightlife enhancement and community engagement”.

He added: “Extending framework hours for pubs, clubs, and fast food outlets fosters a vibrant nightlife economy while maintaining public safety.

“Concerns about noise and disturbances can be addressed through existing regulations and community feedback mechanisms. Camden’s progressive stance encourages economic growth and fosters a harmonious relationship between businesses and residents, ensuring a dynamic and inclusive urban environment for all.”

A Camden Council spokesman said it had “listened extensively” to feedback and is “still engaging with partners on our draft licensing policy”, with any final draft of the policy subject to 12 weeks’ consultation.

“Our updated policies are seeking to address the challenges faced by Camden’s evening and night-time economy. This includes the need to stop music and cultural venues closing due to economic challenges, ensure our high streets remain vibrant, and that we protect jobs – with a third of Camden’s employment in the evening economy.

“We also want to ensure we improve the safety and wellbeing of residents. This strategy seeks to achieve both goals.”

The council had also proposed scrapping ‘cumulative impact areas’ – two zones in Seven Dials and Camden Town where the accumulated impact of existing late-night venues is considered when granting new licences in those neighbourhoods.

The proposals claimed there was “not enough evidence of cumulative impact from noise” in the zones, but residents’ groups believe they are an important feature of Camden’s licensing policies which should be retained.