Comment on licence applications or existing licences
- How do I know what's happening?
- Why would I want to comment?
- Who can comment?
- How do I make my comments?
- What happens to my comments?
- What will the Committee decide?
How do I know what's happening?
To apply for a new licence or a change to an existing licence, applicants have to place a pale blue notice on their premises so it can be easily seen from the outside for 28 days. They must also advertise their application in a local newspaper or similar publication.
The council has a licensing register on the website which provides details of all licensing applications.
Why would I want to comment?
You may wish to make representations about new premises, or where there are plans to substantially change existing premises. You may feel that the plans will lead to an increase in crime and disorder, late-night noise, or any other relevant matter.
Who can comment?
Anyone who wishes to, may comment on a licensing application. Organisations such as residents’ associations, schools, chambers of commerce or parent-teacher associations can also comment.
People who can comment on licence applications are known as ‘interested parties’. ‘Responsible authorities’ such as the police, fire service, environmental health and trading standards can also comment on applications.
You can ask someone – such as a friend, your ward councillor or a lawyer – to represent you if you wish, but you do not have to do so.
How do I make my comments?
Representations must be in writing, which can be by email. You must include your name and address on your representation. They must be received by the date specified on the notice or advert.
Representations must relate to one or more of the four licensing objectives of crime prevention, public safety, public nuisance and child protection.
Crime and disorder: This relates to any crime, disorder or anti-social behaviour related to the management of the premises. The licence-holder cannot be responsible for the conduct of individuals once they leave the premises
Public safety: This relates to the safety of the public on the premises – such as fire safety, lighting and First Aid
Prevention of public nuisance: This can relate to, noise and vibration, noxious smells, light pollution, and litter
Protection of children from harm: This relates to protecting children from the activities carried out on the premises whilst they are on the premises. The law already provides special protections for children, such as making it illegal for children under 18 to buy alcohol.
Your comments cannot be considered if they relate to anything else – such as planning permission, trade competition, or the effect on house prices. They must relate to the premises in question rather than the wider area. Frivolous and vexatious representations will also be rejected. You will be notified if your comments have been rejected because of this.
You may be able to resubmit your comments if there is time, but there is no right of appeal if your comments are rejected on these grounds.
What happens to my comments?
In the interests of fairness, your name and address will be disclosed to the applicant and will be included or summarised in the report to the Licensing Committee. You must specifically tell us if you do not wish your name and address to appear in the report to the Licensing Committee, which is a public document.
In some circumstances we may also try and arrange an informal mediation meeting with the applicants to try and resolve common areas of concern.
You will be sent a form about the Licensing Committee hearing. This must be returned no later than five working days before the hearing if you want to speak at the meeting or you want to give more information to the Committee.
The Committee may ask you to clarify some information you have already given. You will also be told about the procedure the Committee will use at the hearing. At the hearing, all parties will have the opportunity of putting their case to the Committee. They can also ask each other questions.
How will the Committee decide?
The Committee will make its decision based on the law in the Licensing Act, the four licensing objectives, the statutory guidance issued to it by the Secretary of State, and its own statement of licensing policy.
The Committee can decide to grant the licence; grant the licence subject to certain conditions to address comments received and the licensing objectives; or to refuse the licence.
You would normally be told of the decision straightaway, and there is normally a right of appeal against the Committee’s decisions. There is no right of appeal if your comments are rejected because they are irrelevant, frivolous or vexatious as outlined above.
Note that it is not acceptable to lobby a Councillor who is a member of the Licensing Committee.
You will be advised in writing of the Committee’s decision. As a party to the hearing, you will then have 21 days in which to appeal to the magistrates’ court if you disagree with the Licensing Committee’s decision.
The applicant also has the right to appeal against the Committee’s decision. In that case, the Licensing Committee may need to ask you to give evidence at the magistrates’ court appeal on their behalf.
Reviews of existing licences
Occasionally things may go wrong once a licence has been granted. In the first case, we strongly advise you to talk to the manager of the premises first to try and arrange an informal resolution; we can help with this if asked.
If you have a complaint about any activities allowed under a licence, our licensing team will be pleased to help you try and resolve it. Some complaints may not be the Council’s responsibility to deal with, but we can advise you who would be the most appropriate agency in those cases. Interested parties can in this situation.
Reviews allow the Licensing Committee to look at the licence again. If necessary the Committee can change the licence conditions or, in extreme cases, can suspend or revoke all or part of the licence. Once the request has been made, the licensing authority must advertise it for 28 days to allow anyone else to also submit comments.
Last reviewed: 06 - 04 - 2017