The relevant legislation which governs licensing is the Licensing Act of 2003. This Act transferred responsibility for licensing from police and magistrates to local authorities who are required to establish a licensing committee of 10-15 persons, with individual decisions being taken by a licensing sub-committee of three. The Act has four primary objectives:
1) The Prevention of Crime and Disorder
2) Public Safety
3) Prevention of Public Nuisance
4) Protection of Children from Harm
Most local authorities establish their own policy to comply with these objectives and it is against that policy that applications for licences or variations to licences must be judged. Applications which are within policy and where no objections have been submitted may be decided without a hearing.
Applicants must serve notice to responsible authorities (e.g. police, fire, and environmental health). A notice must be displayed at or near the premises for 28 days. In addition to the responsible authorities, the Act allows for any ‘other person’ to make representations. If any such are made, a hearing must be held. Where does the RSMSJ fit into this process?
- We monitor all new and variation applications.
- We alert contacts in an area likely to be adversely affected by an application.
- We make representations about applications either in support of other resident objectors or in our own name.
- In the interval between making a representation and a hearing taking place, we often negotiate with applicants. Often a compromise can be reached by the introduction of suitable conditions. Applicants and objectors are encouraged to follow this route.
- We attend and speak at any hearings involving our representations if necessary.
If you become aware that you may be adversely affected by an application, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can offer useful guidance; and put you in touch, if necessary, with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau solicitor, who is engaged on a borough-wide basis.