The Licensing Act 2003 requires thorough scrutiny of applications both by experts and by residents and businesses. Responsible authorities such as the police, fire authorities, health and safety and environmental health authorities, and others, will be notified of every application for a new premises licence, or variation of existing licences. They will have the opportunity to make representations to the licensing authority but only about the effect of the grant of the licence on the promotion of at least one of the licensing objectives.
The Act also enables residents and businesses (other persons) to make relevant representations about any application for new or for variations to licences. This gives the local community a greater say than ever before in licensing decisions.
For a representation to be relevant it must be one that is about the likely effect of the application on the promotion of the four licensing objectives. Also, if the representation is made by an interested party it will not be relevant if the licensing authority considers it to be vexatious or frivolous, a decision which can not be challenged on appeal but only by a judicial review. It is not intended for an application to be a re-run of the planning process.
Your representation will be passed to the applicant, to allow them the opportunity of addressing your concerns. Also it will be published in the report available to the Licensing Panel, which will be publicly available.
When applying for, or seeking to vary, a premises licence, an applicant must give notice of their application to each responsible authority. The applicant is also obliged to advertise his/her application. Any residents or business will be able to make representations to the licensing authority about the application if they wish to do so. This includes the ability to raise objections.
All persons and responsible authorities will have a period in which they can make representations to the licensing authority about the application. If the licensing authority considers that the representations are relevant it must hold a hearing to consider those representations unless all parties concerned agree that this is unnecessary. The licensing authority will then have choices as to how it proceeds depending upon what is necessary for the promotion of the licensing objectives. It may:
- Decide to grant or vary the licence in the same terms as it was applied for;
- Decide that it is necessary to refuse to issue or vary the licence;
- Decide to grant or vary the licence, but to modify the conditions;
- Exclude from the scope of the licence a licensable activity.
If no relevant representations are made the licence or variation must be granted (subject to the mandatory conditions).
Any person or responsible authority can, at any time, apply to the licensing authority for a review of a premises licence on a ground relating to the licensing objectives. The person or body requesting the review must notify the holder of the premises licence and each responsible authority of their request. The licensing authority must advertise the application for the review and invite representations from responsible authorities and interested parties.
The licensing authority can reject any ground for the review if it considers it to be frivolous, vexatious or a repetition. If not rejected, the licensing authority must hold a hearing to consider the application
The applicant for the review must give notice of the review application to the licensee and to the Police and Fire Authority. The Council will also advertise the review and invite comments from other interested parties.
A Committee hearing will be held. The Council may impose extra conditions on the licence. It can also suspend either all or part of the licence for up to three months. In very serious cases it may revoke the licence.