Advice and Information for Residents
A key feature of the Licensing Act 2003 is to allow local communities a say in licensing decisions that affect them. The Act allows the views of local people and businesses to be taken into account when someone applies for a licence or certificate to carry out one of the licensable activities under the Act such as selling alcohol, providing regulated entertainment and providing late night refreshment.
How do I know if premises are licensed?
Details of Personal Licences, Premises Licences and Club Premises Certificates can be accessed via the on-line search facility elsewhere on this website. If you wish to know any other information, please contact the Licensing Section (see below).
How do I know if an application has been made?
When applicants want to apply for a new licence, or vary their existing one, they must advertise the application by placing a notice at or on the premises and by placing a notice in a local newspaper.
What must the notice at the premises look like?
The Act states it must be on A4 (or larger) pale blue paper, printed legibly in black ink or typed in a font of at least size 16, placed prominently at or on the premises where it can be conveniently read from the exterior of the premises and placed every 50 metres on the external perimeter of the premises abutting any highway (where applicable).
How is the notice placed in a newspaper?
The newspaper must be one that circulates in the vicinity of the premises (or if there isn't a local paper, in a local newsletter or circular) and the advertisement must appear at least once in the 10 working days following the application being given to the Council.
Can I object to an application?
You can submit a representation about any application if you qualify. This means you must be either: a person living in the Borough; a body (e.g. a residents association) representing people that live in the Borough; a person involved in a business in the Borough; a body (e.g. a trade association) representing people involved in businesses in the Borough. Your representation must be received by the Council within 28 days of the application being submitted.
On what grounds can I object?
If you think that granting a new or changing an existing licence or certificate would undermine any of the licensing objectives, you can make a representation to the Council. The licensing objectives are: the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; the protection of children from harm.
How do I lodge an objection?
Representations should be made in writing or by email to the Licensing Section (see below). All representations must be about the likely effect of granting the licence or certificate on the promotion of at least one of the four licensing objectives. It would be wise, therefore to clearly link any representation to one or more of the objectives. It will also assist if the representations are specific to the premises and evidence based. In addition, the council cannot consider representations that are "vexatious" or "frivolous".
Can my objection be anonymous?
Interested parties cannot make representations anonymously, even if somebody else (e.g. a local MP or councillor) is making the representation on their behalf. This is because the Council needs to be satisfied that the person making the representation lives in the Borough and is not being vexatious. It is also important that an applicant is able to respond to a representation, for example, if they believe it doesn't relate to one or more of the licensing objectives.
Can I submit a petition?
If you are thinking of raising a petition, it is important that the Council can determine whether all the signatories are within the Borough. So, including their addresses and indicating clearly what representation(s) they are all making would be helpful. It would also help if a spokesperson could volunteer to receive details about the hearings etc. from the Council and may be willing to speak on behalf of the petitioners at the meeting.
Can I ask somebody to represent me?
If you want to ask another person such as an MP or local councillor to represent you, it is advisable to make such a request in writing so that the individual can demonstrate he or she was asked. It will be a matter for the MP or councillor to decide whether they should agree to your request. They are not obliged to do so, however, most elected representatives are happy to help residents with this sort of issue. Councillors who are part of the licensing committee hearing the application will not be able to enter into discussions with you about the application, outside of the formal hearing, so it is suggested that you do not approach them to try to.
What happens after I submit my objection?
If the Council considers that the representations are relevant, it must hold a hearing to consider those representations – unless all parties can come to an agreement beforehand, and agree that a hearing is unnecessary. For example, the Council may offer to try and resolve matters via a negotiated agreement outside a formal hearing. The Council will write to you and inform you of the date, time and venue of the hearing. It will provide details of the procedure to be followed at the hearing.
What about problems at premises after a licence is granted?
Any person can ask the Council to review a licence or certificate if problems occur which undermine the licensing objectives (see above). The Council can reject any review if it considers it to be "frivolous", "vexatious" or "repetitious". Before applying for a review, you may want to consider whether your concerns could be effectively dealt with outside of the formal review process. This could involve, for example: talking to the licence or certificate holder to determine whether there are any steps they may be willing to take to rectify the situation; ask your local MP or councillor to speak to the licence or certificate holder on your behalf; talking to the relevant 'responsible authority' (e.g. the Council's Environmental Health Service in relation to noise nuisance) to determine whether there is other legislation that could help resolve the issue.
Applying for a review
An application for the review of a premises licence or club premises certificate must be given in writing and be in the prescribed application form, which is available to download from this website (see documents). It is suggested that you contact the Licensing Section (see below) for advice and assistance on the review process.
Licensing Enforcement Policy
When investigating complaints relating to any licensing matter, the Licensing Section will do so in accordance with the principles set out in our Enforcement Policy (see link on left hand side).
For more information, contact the Licensing Section:
Legal and Democratic Service
Tel 01264 368013/368023