Posted: Wednesday, 12 August 2015 @ 11:58
In the news this week is the apparent drastic decline of the night club, almost halved within a decade, with various comments on the reasons behind the closures.
Some have suggested that it is a change in habits, with outdoor festivals and live music events more popular. Others have suggested that it is the competition posed by pubs and other venues since the relaxation of licensing hours which came from the major change in licensing laws in 2005.
And then there has been the relenting pressure since the financial crash of 2007-8, with the squeeze on cash for the pursuit of pleasure. The crash has also seen police budgets slashed, which in turn has clearly brought pressure from the top of the police hierarchy to reduce costs, and that means manpower on the beat particular at night and weekends. A soft target has been the night time economy, so even in areas of improvement there has been pressure on late night venues to reduce their opening hours or shut. This is often through the formal premises licence review before the licensing authority.
But often it is the badly run late night venues which have come under the most police pressure. This is why it is vital to have a strong management team to run a late night venue. It is false economy to ignore the need for effective controls.
So how do you best avoid a Premises Licence review?
1. Carry out a periodic check on the conditions of the Premises Licence and ensure that they are being complied with.
2. Where CCTV is in place as a condition on the licence make sure it is operating in accordance with the strict terms of the licence.
3. Check that staff training is up to date and records are kept on the premises
4. In particular concentrate on staff training to avoid under age sales and sales to drunks.
5. Check that each sale of alcohol is authorised by someone holding a Personal Licence. All staff selling alcohol who do not have a Personal Licence must have the necessary written authority. Keep an up to date record on the premises.
6. Check that all door staff have valid SIA badges.
7. Pay particular attention to noise nuisance. This could come from music played on the premises or customers in outside areas late at night. Engage with neighbours and take steps to keep nuisance to a minimum.
8. If problems occur maintain a dialogue with the police and licensing authority and agree to practical and proportional measures to solve issues. This does not mean you have to slavishly agree to everything the police demand. But it is essential that you consider each proposal and communicate your decision in writing, setting out your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing.
9. If you feel you are being put under unfair pressure, seek early legal advice.
Licensing Law Specialist
Tel: 0845 003 5639
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
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
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