Liquor licensing policy and getting involved in the process
Rushcliffe Borough Council's liquor licensing policy was first launched in 2003, when the government reformed licensing legislation, giving responsibility to local councils. Councils are required, by section 5 of the Licensing Act 2003 (the Act), to publish a ‘statement of licensing policy’, and review the policy every five years.
On 12 December 2013 the Council approved the revised policy which will come into effect on the 7th January 2014 and will run for a period of five years.
The current Rushcliffe Borough Council statement of licensing policy is available to view.
Getting involved in the liquor licensing process
The Licensing Act 2003 allows two different bodies to object to the grant or variation of premises licences or to call for a review of such a licence:
- Responsible authorities: these bodies are set out in the legislation and include the Police, Fire Service, Environmental Health, Licensing Authority and Trading Standards
- Interested parties: any person may make a representation against an application irrespective of where they live, provided that the representation is based on the licensing objectives below. This means they can make valid objections against the application, giving reasons why they think it shouldn’t be allowed.
Any representations made must be based on at least one of the four licensing objectives, namely:
- Crime and disorder
- Public nuisance
- Public safety
- The protection of children from harm.
The application process for a new premises licence or to vary a current licence requires the applicant to copy the application to all responsible authorities. In addition the applicant must publish it within ten days in a newspaper that circulates within the area - these notices are usually found in the public notices sections. The applicant must also place the same notice outside the premises in question for the same 28 day period. The notice must be on pale blue paper and be A4 in size.
The Licensing Authority follows a prescribed process and, as such, does not circulate details of the application to nearby residents (as happens with planning applications).
Objecting to an application
You can view all liquor licensing applications online. Any objections to a current application must be made in writing to the licensing team or by email to email@example.com. The contents of any representation will be disclosed to the applicant, other interested parties and the responsible authorities. They may also be discussed at a public hearing. If you do not want your contact details to be disclosed please let us know.
Once the objection period has passed and relevant representations have been made, a hearing date will be set, normally within 28 days of the end of this period. This will take place at the Civic Centre and persons who have made relevant representations will be invited to attend and speak at the hearing.
A notice about the hearing will be issued as soon as the objection period has passed, giving details of the hearing. At least 7 days prior to the hearing, papers including all relevant representations will be sent out.
If you wish to appear at the hearing or have further information which is directly linked to your objection for the Committee, you must notify the Council at least seven days before the hearing. About seven days prior to the hearing you will receive the full papers for the hearing.
All hearings are held at Rushcliffe Civic Centre before a sub-committee of the Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Committee. The panel will consist of 3 members who will not be connected to the hearing or the area in which the application has been made. A set procedure for the hearing is set out which will be followed at all times. A copy of this procedure will also be sent out to each person who has made an objection to the application. The procedure can be downloaded below.
If numerous people object to the application then it is best practice that you ask someone to represent you as a spokesperson - this could be your borough councillor.
Temporary events notices
The Police and Environmental Health Service can object to a Temporary Events Notice on any of the four licensing objectives. The notice overrides what the current licence, if one is held, covers, for instance if premises are not allowed entertainment on their current premises licence, a temporary event notice would allow them to carry out this activity at the premises. The licensing Authority may add existing conditions where an objection is made by either the Police or Environmental Health Service.
Planning and Licensing
The Licensing Act 2003 makes a clear distinction between planning and licensing and states they must be dealt with separately. It is therefore possible that later licensing hours may be granted to premises, which does not have planning permission to open for these later hours. It is also possible that two separate applications - one for planning and one for licensing - could be submitted at similar times. The Act is very clear they must be dealt with as separate issues, and therefore separate representations to the relevant departments must be made.
If you have any queries about the licensing process, representations or application, please contact us.
Any person can ask the licensing authority to review a premises licence at any time. A responsible authority such as the police, fire service or environmental health can also ask for a review of your licence where they believe that problems are undermining one of the licensing objectives of:
- Prevention of crime and disorder
- Public Safety
- Prevention of public nuisance
- Protection of children from harm.
The Licensing service will determine if the request is relevant. Once accepted notices will be posted at the premises and all of the responsible authorities will be notified.
All parties will then be invited to attend a hearing at the Council's offices before the Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Committee, in order that they can consider the representations that have been made. The Licensing Authority can then modify any conditions of the licence, exclude a licensable activity, request the removal of the designated premises supervisor, suspend the licence for up to three months, or revoke the licence totally.