Licensing Review February 2018

Posted: Wednesday, 31 January 2018 @ 16:16

Here is a brief overview of recent news affecting the alcohol entertainment and late night sectors.

Licensing law changes?

In November 2017 the Government gave its response to the House of Lords Select Committee report on the Licensing Act 2003. By all accounts the response was defensive and negative, perhaps with a desire not to engage in extensive legislation at a time when its focus is on Brexit? Needless to say Their Lordships were not amused.

• The House of Lords recommended that local government planning departments should take over the licensing functions. In rejecting this the Government stated “we are focusing on improving training and providing stronger guidance on how licensing hearings should be conducted.”

• The Government also rejected the recommendation that appeals should be heard by the planning inspectorate.

• The Government also rejected the proposal that the requirement for applications to be advertised in the newspaper be removed. The Government noted that many locals relied on such adverts for notification of applications.

• There will be no substantial changes to the licensing committee procedures.

• The Government said it will not be introducing any new licensing objectives.

• EMRO (Early Morning restriction Orders) legislation will not be repealed or varied.

• The Government will not be changing the rules on the 30/70 revenue split for late night levies.

• Local authorities will not be given new powers allowing themselves to object to TENs (Temporary Event Notices).

• There will be no change in the immediate future to the existing fees.

• There will be no national database for personal licence holders

.• But an ‘Agent of Change’ principle will be introduced in the revised section 182 guidance “to help protect both licensed premises and local residents from consequences arising from any new built development in their nearby vicinity.”

At present residents of new developments are favoured when it comes to matters such as complaints of noise and other nuisance from exiting venues, whether it is pub gardens or music venues, often driving them out of business. In future it is intended that the “Agent of Change”, whether it is the developer building new residential housing, or a new venue of venue changing its operation in a way that increases nuisance, who will be responsible for ensuring that the nuisance is neutralised. 

The Government has also been quick to react to the introduction of a Planning (Agent of Change) Bill by Labour MP John Spellar MP, by announcing in the last few weeks that the “Agent of Change” principle will also be introduced into planning law. The National Planning Policy Framework will be amended to include specific mention of “Agent of Change”, backing up the changes made by the Housing and Planning Act 2016. The Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid, has said that this will be the subject of a consultation in the Spring. Hopefully this will provide better protection for existing venues and halt in particular the rapid decline in music venues.  

Basic Disclosure

If anyone needs to obtain a Basic Disclosure should note that those living in England and Wales can no longer (from 31 January) apply to Disclosure Scotland. Individuals living in England and Wales will be able to apply to DBS for a basic check via www.gov.uk. Click here.

It is also possible to use  a responsible Organisation which has been registered with DBS. For a list click here.

Royal Nuptials

Finally, on a lighter note the Government has indicated that it may extend licensing hours for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, to allow people to celebrate on the nights of Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May until 1am the following morning!      

Blog by Nigel Musgrove
Nigel has been providing dispute resolution advice as a solicitor for over 35 years. As well as advising SMEs and business owners on disputes he also offers a specialist licensing law service. View profile
Call Nigel on +44 (0)1285 847 001 or by email
This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.

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Thank you. Your response is great, very straight to the point! Hopefully this will bring an end to the matter. I will certainly be recommending your services as I am very impressed with the prompt dealing of this matter.
Janet Burbidge

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