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Licensing Act 2003 policy

B. Policy Statements: Part four

15. Children and Cinemas

15.1 Where a licence is granted for the exhibition of films it will be granted subject to a condition which requires the licensee to take all reasonable steps to prevent children gaining access to age restricted films, which they are not old enough to view according to the British Board of Film Classification.

15.2 Where it is proposed to exhibit films not classified by the BBFC, the licensing authority will, providing adequate notice has been given, classify the films concerned using the guidelines published by the BBFC.

15.3 The licensing authority also retains the right to re-classify any films to be exhibited notwithstanding the BBFC classification if it considers it appropriate in the circumstances.

16. Children and Public Entertainment

16.1 Many children go to see and/or take part in an entertainment arranged especially for them, for example children's film shows and dance or drama school productions, and additional arrangements are required to safeguard them while at the premises.

16.2 The licensing authority will consider attaching conditions to licences and permissions to prevent harm to children.

17. Cumulative Impact

17.1 The policy does not seek to limit the number of licensed premises that will be permitted on the ground that the licensing authority considers that there are already enough licensed premises to satisfy the demand. This is a matter for planning control and the market and not for this policy.

17.2 The 'cumulative impact' of the granting of an additional licence, within a particular area, on the promotion of the licensing objectives is, however, a proper matter for the licensing authority to consider under this policy and it may adopt a Special Saturation Policy. Where the licensing authority receives representations from a responsible authority or an interested party that the cumulative effect of new licences is leading to an area becoming saturated with premises, making it a focal point for large groups to gather in and circulate away from the licensed premises themselves, and that this is creating problems of disorder and/or nuisance over and above the impact of the individual premises, the licensing authority can properly consider whether or not the granting of an additional licence might lead to one or more of the Licensing Objectives being undermined. The principle of cumulative impact will not be used to impose artificial restrictions as:

  • All applications will be considered on their merits.
  • No 'quotas' are imposed by this policy.
  •  No restriction or limitation on trading hours in a particular area is imposed by this policy.

17.3 The impact on the promotion of the licensing objectives is a matter that the licensing authority can take into account when considering a particular application The licensing authority recognises that a minority of consumers will behave badly. Subject to paragraphs 10.2 and 10.3 above, the policy does not address issues relating to the behaviour of individuals or groups unless in the immediate vicinity of the licensed premises. However, the licensing policy statement is part of a framework of measures, which together can be used to address behavioural problems in an area where licensed premises are situated.

18. Saturation Controls

18.1 Representations may be received from a responsible authority / other person that an area has become saturated with premises making it a focal point for large groups of people to gather and circulate away from the licensed premises themselves, creating problems of disorder and nuisance over and above the impact from the individual premises.

18.2 In these circumstances, the licensing authority may consider that the imposition of conditions is unlikely to address these problems and may consider the adoption of a special policy of refusing new premises licences or club premises certificates because the area is saturated with licensed premises and the granting of any more would undermine one of the licensing objectives.

18.3 For the sake of clarity any such special policy would not only relate to applications for new premises but also to any applications for variations which deal with increases in capacity or hours.

18.4 The licensing authority will take the following steps when considering whether to adopt a special saturation policy:

  •  identification of serious concern from a responsible authority or representatives of residents about nuisance and disorder;
  • where it can be demonstrated that disorder and nuisance is arising as a result of customers from licensed premises, identifying the area from which problems are arising and the boundaries of that area;
  • assessing the causes;
  • adopting a policy about future licence applications from that area.

18.5 The licensing authority will consider representations based on the impact on the promotion of the licensing objectives of the grant of the particular application in vicinity of the premises in question.

18.6 However, the onus would be on the objectors to provide evidence to back up any assertion that the addition of the premises in question would produce the cumulative impact claimed, taking into account that the impact will be different for premises with different styles and characteristics.

18.7 Once a special saturation policy is adopted then it creates a rebuttable presumption that any application for a new licence or a major variation will be refused if relevant representations to that effect are received.

18.8 Once adopted the licensing authority will review any special saturation policies on a regular basis to see whether they have had the effect intended, and whether they are still needed.

18.9 The licensing authority will not use such policies solely:

  • as the grounds for removing a licence when representations are received about problems with existing licensed premises, or,
  • to refuse modifications to a licence, except where the modifications are directly relevant to the policy, for example where the application is for an increase in the capacity limits.

18.10 The licensing authority recognises that the diversity of premises selling alcohol, serving food and providing entertainment covers a wide range of contrasting styles and characteristics and will have full regard to those differences and the differing impact these will have on the local community.

18.11 It therefore also recognises that, within this policy, it may be able to approve licences that are unlikely to add significantly to the saturation and will consider the circumstances of each individual application.

19. Licensing Hours

19.1 The policy recognises that longer (more flexible) licensing hours can contribute to easing crime and disorder problems by ensuring that concentrations of customers leaving premises simultaneously are avoided thus helping to reduce friction at taxi ranks and private hire offices, fast food outlets etc.

19.2 The policy will not set fixed trading hours within any designated area as this could lead to significant movements of people across boundaries at particular times seeking premises opening later, with the attendant concentration of disturbance and noise. The licensing authority will generally deal with the issue of licensing hours having due regard to the individual merits of each application. However, the policy recognises that stricter conditions with regard to noise control will be necessary in more densely populated residential areas - where any application will be judged on its merits.

19.3 Consequently, the policy will not attempt to artificially introduce 'staggered' closing times.

19.4 Shops and supermarkets will ordinarily be permitted to sell alcohol at any time during their normal opening hours except where the police have identified a particular outlet as the focus for disorder and disturbance.

19.5 Following the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003 it was felt that there was a move to allow longer opening hours. On the 30th September 2006 the Secretary of State wrote to all licensing authorities emphasising that the Act contains no presumption in favour of longer hours and that the four licensing objectives should be paramount in any consideration of a licensing application.

20. European Services Directive

20.1 The EU Services Directive was introduced to develop a single market for breaking down barriers to cross border trade within the EU and making it easier for service providers within scope to set up business or offer their services to other EU countries. The Directive requires that all notices and authorisations in scope are able to be completed electronically and via a "single point of contact".

20.2 The Directive was implemented in the UK on 28th December 2009 by the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 The UK point of single contact is the Electronic Application Facility which is part of the website.

20.3 Although only regulated entertainment is a "service" as defined under the directive, the Government has extended the electronic application process to all regulated activities under the 2003 Act and to all authorisation and notices with the exception of applications for renewals of, personal licences, reviews and representations. Guidance on the new electronic application process is provided in the Guidance issued under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 by the Home Office. It should be noted that the Guidance is regularly updated. And so, you are advised to contact the Home Office for the latest version of the Guidance before submitting any application.

21. Personal Licence

21.1 The licensing authority recognises that it has very little discretion when it comes to the granting of these licences. In general, provided an applicant has an appropriate licensing qualification, is aged over 18 years and does not have a relevant or foreign criminal conviction his application must be granted.

21.2 Where an applicant is found to have an unspent conviction for a relevant or foreign offence and the police object to the application on crime prevention grounds, the applicant is entitled to a hearing before a Licensing sub-committee.

21.3 Where the police have so objected, there will be a presumption against the granting of the licence unless it can be demonstrated to the Licensing sub-committee that there are exceptional and compelling circumstances to justify granting the same.

21.4 At any hearing to determine the grant of a personal licence the licensing authority will have regard to the crime prevention objective. The Licensing sub-committee will consider the seriousness and relevance of the conviction(s), the period that has elapsed since the offence(s) were committed and mitigating circumstances.

21.5 The licensing authority requires applicants for personal licences to produce a Disclosure & Barring Service Certificate, or similar, with their application.

21.6 The Policing and Crime Act 2017 gives licensing authorities the power to revoke or suspend personal licences, with effect from 6 April 2017. This is a discretionary power; licensing authorities are not obliged to give consideration to all personal licence holders subject to convictions for relevant offences, foreign offences or civil penalties for immigration matters.

21.7 When a licensing authority has granted a personal licence and becomes aware that the licence holder has been convicted of a relevant offence or foreign offence or been required to pay an immigration penalty, a licensing authority may revoke the licence or suspend it for a period of up to six months. This applies to convictions received and civil immigration penalties which a person has been required to pay at any time before or after the licence was granted, as long as the conviction was received after 6 April 2017, or the requirement to pay the civil penalty arose after 6 April 2017.

21.8 Only magistrates' courts can order the forfeiture or suspension of a personal licence for convictions received prior to 6 April 2017. The process which must be undertaken by the licensing authority to suspend or revoke a personal licence is set out at section 132A of the 2003 Act. The decision to revoke or suspend a personal licence must be made by the licensing committee or sub-committee, but the actions required before making a final decision may be made by a licensing officer.

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