Licensing Act – Consultation.

The Licensing Act 2003. A piece of legislation that was meant to simplify and bring licensing up to date. This piece of legislation can trace its history back to the 1751 Gin Act.

Today, over at County Hall the Licensing Act Committee met to discuss the latest Government consultation on this Act. There are many problems with the current Act. The de-regulation of licensing hours is just one. When it was first introduced it was sold as allowing the UK to adopt a more European cafe culture to drinking. This has failed. History will tell you that Britain has a long history with drinking. In reality the de-regulation of hours means premises have just stayed open later.

That is not entirely bad in principle, but one of the main problems to this is what happens when people leave these premises in the early hours of the morning and the disturbance it causes to local residents. When it was 12-1 in the morning people could still get a fair amount of sleep, but its a little hard when you are kept awake until 4 am. Add the smoking ban, and you have a real problem to noise and disturbance. From my experience most landlords try to mitigate against this, but it still causes problems. There is also huge budget implications to the Emergency Services in dealing with alcohol related problems.

What we discussed today was how we could improve the Act from the view of the Council. At present we have no real teeth prior to it going to a formal hearing. In fact the Licensing Authority does not even have the power to call for a review on a troublesome premises. It has to rely on the Police, Public, Environmental Health and Trading Standards. It would be easier if we had those powers. We also believed that City, Town and Parish Councils are made interested parties to any applications. Currently they are not.

We also discussed many other issues like a different fees depending on how late you stay open. Currently its the same price if you shut at 11pm or 5am. Also discussed were fixed fines for infringements, the tightening up of who can object to a Temporary Event Notice (T.E.N.) and other issues that would  make the Act more workable. This Consultation ends on the 8th of Sept, when the Government will collate and hopefully adopt these points (or at least some).

For more details on the Licensing Act click HERE. For TENs click HERE

2 comments

  • Anonymous

    As a previous landlady before these changes came in, I always felt that longer hours would not work, for 1:- people leave it till later to go out, knowing they dont have a certain amount of time to cram in their drinking.
    and 2: the smoking ban is fine if the premises are adequate enough to cater of your smoking punters as they are one of the main contributors to the pubs turnover.
    3: there will always be those who will still got out early and now stay out later 'till the pubs shut' which also causes hassle for us both the staff, customers and of course the police. In general most pubs have taken steps to keep trouble from arising but some do not and these are the premises that need to be 'tamed' for a better word.
    Its all very well bringing our laws to be in line with Europe but the UK does not have the weather to make the most of alfresco dinning etc
    or the sense.
    Its always 'after the horse has bolted' which in hinsight is always too late, hence why I got out as soon as!
    now publicans are up the creak without a paddle so to speak as they dont want to work even longer hours or deal with already awkward punters and wait their hard work be financially turned to dust.

  • C Clarke

    I don't understand why the antisocial minorities are allowed to spoil things for everyone else, they drive the 'quiet enjoyers' away, annoy the locals, and cause hassle to everyone.

    We've had good drunk and disorderly laws on the books since at least Victorian times – but they never seem to be used. A real clamp down (with emergency cell space temporarily provided) for about six months could really change things – look at the progress Newquay has made on the underage and stag drinkers in less than a year and it isn't costing them trade – it's gaining it! Sticking the 'tank up before we go out' and paralytic drunks and disorderlies in the cells for a night and fining them to pay for clean up crews and people will quickly learn it's better to not go too far – the trouble ATM is that too far keeps getting further and further away.

    P.S. Comment form not working in Firefox

Please feel free to leave a comment to the post, as I like to hear your views! However, comments that do not meet the rules of the site (found in Blog Disclaimer) will not be published. Furthermore, all comment need to be approved by admin before publication.