In accordance with the Licensing Act 2003, the Royal Borough will take into account the views of local people and businesses when someone applies for a licence or certificate to carry out a licensable activity such as selling alcohol, providing regulated entertainment and providing late night refreshment.
If you think the granting of a new licence, or the changing of an existing licence or certificate would undermine any of the following licensing objectives:
- the prevention of crime and disorder;
- public safety;
- the prevention of public nuisance;
- the protection of children from harm;
You can make representations (objections) to the Royal Borough. You can also ask for a licence or certificate to be reviewed if problems occur which undermine the licensing objectives. You should send your representations to the address below.
Please read through the guidance below before making representations.
This guidance describes the process for making representations to the council about applications for:
- new premises licences or certificates;
- full variations to existing premises licences or certificates;
- minor variations to existing premises licences or certificates; or
- provisional statements.
It also contains information about the hearing process, to all the application processes except Minor Variations.
Unless stated otherwise, references to ‘licences’ in this text also apply to club premises certificates.
New licence applications and full variations
When an applicants wants to apply for a new licence, or vary their existing one (for example, to put on additional activities or to extend their hours – other than when applying under the minor variation process), they must advertise the application by:
Placing a notice at or on the premises
- On A4 (or larger) pale blue paper (or on white paper, in the case of an application for a Minor Variation).
- Printed legible in black ink or typed in a font of at least 16.
- Placed prominently at or on the premises where it can be conveniently read from the exterior of the premises.
Placing a notice in a newspaper
- Newspaper circulation must be in the vicinity of the premises (or if there isn’t a local paper, in a local newsletter or circular).
- Advertisement will be at least once in the 10 days following the application being given to the council.
Full application details can also be viewed on the Council’s ‘licensing register’.
Using the Register, applicants will be able to check all opening hours; licensable activities and any steps the applicant has volunteered to take to promote the four licensing objectives. These are set out in the applicant’s ‘operating schedule’.
The four licensing objectives are:
- The prevention of crime and disorder;
- Public safety;
- The prevention of public nuisance; and
- The protection of children from harm.
If any person believes that granting a licence in the terms it has been applied for is likely to have an effect (whether positive or negative on the promotion of one or more of these objectives, they can make a representation to the Council.
For a Minor Variation application, interested persons have 10 working days in which to make a representation. For other applications, they have 28 consecutive days. In all cases, the timetable starts on the day after the day on which the application was given.
When considering the steps that an applicant has volunteered to promote the licensing objectives, it is important to remember that applicants should already be adhering to legislation in other areas, and the may feel there is nothing additional they need to do to promote the licensing objectives. Some applicants may therefore simply say something like ‘nothing beyond existing Health and Safety/Fire Safety etc. requirements’ or if they are applying to vary a licence ‘nothing beyond the steps we are currently taking, which are already conditions of the licence’.
Representations should normally be made in writing to the licensing authority where the premises are situated.
This Council will accept representations by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All representations must be about the likely effect of granting or varying the licence on the promotion of at least one of the four licensing objectives. It would be wise, therefore, to explicitly link any representation to one or more of the objectives.
Representations do not have to be objections: you can make representations in support of an application if you believe that it will have a positive impact on one or more of the licensing objectives. For example, an application to add live music or late night refreshment to a licence might help the premises attract a more diverse clientele and
lower the risk of crime and disorder.
There is no requirement for an interested person to produce a recorded history at a premises to support their representations, and in fact, this would not be possible for new premises. However, it will assist their case if the representations are specific to the premises and evidence based. So, for example, if an interested person believes a variation to an existing premise may cause problems in relation to crime and disorder, they may wish to talk to local police beforehand, or document existing problems themselves by, for example, keeping a diary or photographic evidence of any incidents.
This Council will need to be satisfied that there is an evidential and causal link between the representations made, and the effect on the licensing objectives. In addition, the Council can only consider representations that are not “vexatious” or “frivolous”. These terms have their ordinary meaning. Whether representations are frivolous or vexatious will be for the Council to determine. For example the Council might find the representations were vexatious if they arise because of disputes between rival businesses or they might be frivolous representations if they plainly lacked seriousness.
No one person can make representations anonymously; even if somebody else (e.g. a local MP or councillor) is making the representation on their behalf. This is because the applicant should be able to respond to a representation, for example, if they believe that it isn’t a ‘relevant’ representation.
If interested persons are concerned about possible intimidation, they could consider asking the police, or another appropriate responsible authority to make a representation on their behalf.
Alternatively, the Council may be willing, in exceptional circumstances to withhold some or all of the interested parties’ personal details from the applicant. However, withholding such details should only be considered where the circumstances justify such action and the licensing authority is satisfied that the complaints are not frivolous or vexatious.
Councillors making representations must comply with the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) Order 2007 at all stages of the process.
Things you may want to consider when making representations
- If no relevant representations are made (for applications other than a Minor Variations application), the licence or variation must be granted (subject to the mandatory conditions).
- Local Authorities must grant a Minor Variation unless there could be an adverse effect on the licensing objectives. They must take representations into account, but they will not hold a hearing.
- It may be helpful to get the backing of other people living, or businesses operating in the vicinity of the premises, or other “responsible authorities”, such as the police or environmental health.
- Look at your licensing authority’s official records about the premises, kept in their “licensing register”. This will show you if other people have asked for a review of the premises in the past.
- If you want to ask another person, such as an MP or local Councillor (or perhaps a solicitor if you are a Councillor making representations) to represent you, it is advisable to make such a request in writing so that the individual can demonstrate he or she was asked It will be a matter for them to decide whether they should agree to your request. They are not obliged to do so, however, most elected representatives are happy to help residents with this sort of issue. Councillors who are part of the licensing committee hearing the application will not be able to enter into discussions with you about the application, outside of the formal hearing, so it is suggested that you do not approach them to try to.
- Consider how you would like the issues to be addressed.
- If making a representation in support of an application, explain how the proposed activities would help promote the licensing objectives.
What happens after a representation has been made?
For applications other than Minor Variations, the Council must hold a hearing to consider representations, unless:
- The representations are irrelevant frivolous; or vexatious; or
- All parties can come to an agreement beforehand, and agree that a hearing is unnecessary. For example, the Council may offer to try and resolve matters via a negotiated agreement outside a formal hearing. You will need to decide if this is appropriate for you, but you can insist upon the hearing. If there is to be a hearing on an application to which you have submitted representations, the Council will write to you to inform you of the date and time and will explain the format. If an applicant withdraws their application after a hearing date has been arranged, the Council will let them know that the hearing has been cancelled. You should be aware that if you make representations about an application that is later withdrawn, and the applicant makes a new, amended application, your representations will not automatically be taken forward. Any amended application would need to be re-advertised as set out above. You will then have the opportunity to decide whether to make representations about the new application.
Arrangements for hearings
For a Minor Variations application, the council must take representations into account, but there will be no hearing.
The authority must make a decision within 15 working days after the application is made.
Anyone that made representations are required to give notice to the council at least five working days before the start of the hearing, stating:
- Whether they will attend the hearing in person.
- Whether they will be represented by someone else (e.g. councillor/ MP/ lawyer).
- Whether they think that a hearing is unnecessary (if, for example they have come to an agreement before the formal hearing).
- If they want another person to appear at the hearing (not to represent them), a request for permission for the person to attend, and details of their name and how they may be able to assist the authority in relation to the application.
People making representations must let the Council know as soon as possible (by a notice no later than 24 hours before the start of a hearing, or orally at the hearing) if they wish to withdraw their representation.
Hearings will generally be held in public, unless the Council decides it is in the public interest to hold all or part of the hearing in private. The Council will ensure that a record is taken of the hearing.
Hearings will normally take the form of a discussion and will be led by the Sub-committee which will consist of 3 local authority elected councillors drawn from a licensing panel.
The Council will explain the procedure to be followed. It will determine any request for additional Council persons to appear at the hearing. It will consider evidence produced in support before the hearing and can consider evidence produced by a party at the hearing, but only if all parties agree. Further evidence can also be produced if this was sought for clarification of an issue by the authority before the hearing. Cross-examination of one party by another during the hearing is not allowed, unless the authority thinks it necessary. The parties are entitled to address the sub-committee and will be allowed equal time to address the Councillors and, if they have been given permission by the authority to do so, they will be given equal time to ask any questions of any other party.
The authority will disregard any information it considered to be irrelevant.
NB – A hearing can still go ahead in the absence of any party (e.g. applicant or interested person)
As a result of the hearing, the Council must then decide how to proceed in order to
promote 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;
- In the case of a premises licence, refuse the specify person as premises supervisor.
The Council must give notice of its decision within 5 working days (if it does not give a decision at the hearing) and include information on the right of a party to appeal against the decision. For more information on appeals, see the separate guidance on appealing licensing decisions.
For further information about making representations, contact the licensing team at email@example.com or (01628 683840).