RCAS Newsletter extract May 2003
Licensing Roger Mortimer
The Licensing Bill continues its inexorable
progress onto the statute books. The political representation on the Commons
Standing Committee concerned has enabled the Government to eliminate the modest
improvements made to the Bill in the Lords. Unless there is an unexpected
rebellion at the final debate in the Commons – or the Lords, the Bill will be law
At the same time, the important ‘Guidance’ on how
local councils should interpret the Bill is being refined – with the aid of a
Working Party of 25 ‘stakeholders’. This
has a majority of members from licensed trade bodies – and not one representing
of those who live in our cities – it would seem we are not ‘stakeholders’!
We cannot expect this Working Party to improve the
present very prescriptive Guidance.
RCAS will continue to work with the City Council
and Police in an attempt to encourage the setting up of local procedures that
respects residential amenity as far as possible. Once this has happened and
individual Premises Licence applications come in, quite possibly as early as
this September, RCAS will be able to
offer advice and support but it will be
up to affected residents to prepare and present objections.
We have regularly explained the way pubs and bars
are likely to use their new trading opportunities but most people are
understandably reluctant to get involved until there is a threat in their
immediate area. In the meantime we can offer a few suggestions about what could
be done to prepare, by way of fact gathering, etc, over the next few months.