BRINGING in a levy for Cheltenham pubs and clubs staying open after midnight will not reduce binge drinking and alcohol-related disorder.
That is the view of Gary Paterson, the owner of G's Bar in Bath Road, who claims the measure introduced this week will unfairly penalise the wrong businesses.
Borough councillors voted in the levy as a way of paying for the cost of policing booze-fuelled disorder in the town centre at night.
The tax will affect 218 licensed premises in the town and could raise £199,000 a year to go towards things like extra police resources and council street cleaning schemes.
But Gary, who raised a petition against the tax which was signed by 990 people, slammed the move, claiming it missed the point.
"It is not going to do what it is supposed to do," he said.
"It is penalising bars and clubs which stay open after midnight, effectively making them pay for the cost of alcohol related problems in the town centre.
"But the fact is people can go into a supermarket at any time and buy cheap alcohol – then pre-load at home. It doesn't change that.
"What it is doing is targeting a very small minority of businesses for a problem which is not of their causing."
Mr Paterson was also unhappy with the way the consultation was handled by the council.
"Ultimately it is just about raising money as far as they are concerned," he added.
"But in a year's time how are they going to prove whether it has made any difference at all?
"I have asked that question directly to the council and they have not given me a straight answer."
The levy was pushed through by the council on Monday despite strong opposition from members of the pub trade.
It means most bars and clubs will have to pay £768 to stay open past midnight, while 23 will have to pay the highest amount - £1,493. Reductions of up to 30 per cent will be available to some venues.
The scheme is set to come into force from April next year.
Borough councillors said the move would help to build a stronger community while police and crime commissioner Martin Surl hailed the decision as "right and proper".