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Licensing news England and Wales - October 2016

What's been happening in the licensing community in England and Wales this month?

Alcohol and entertainment licensing news

Gambling news 

Other licensing news

Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing News

Late Night Levys (LNL) 

Cheltenham are consulting on cancelling their late night levy on the basis that a Business Improvement District has been implemented in the city centre. Consultation ends on 7 November 2016 and the LNL is expected to be cancelled on 31 March 2017. 

Gloucester City Council are consulting on the introduction of a LNL in 2017. Their consultation closes on 7 December 2016. The proposal is for premises selling alcohol after midnight, with exemptions for New Year's Eve and a reduction in fees for best practice (Best Bar None) accredited premises. The consultation documents can be found here 

Newcastle City Council have written to all premises in the city currently paying the LNL to inform them of a best practice scheme called 'Raising the Bar'. This will discount the LNL for all participants by 30%. To receive relief from the 2016/2017 LNL fee, premises must be signed up to the scheme for the start of the payment year (1 November). Applications must be made by 14 October.   

Changes to LNL proposed in the Policing and Crime Bill

The upcoming changes to licensing that are set out in the Policing and Crime Bill include additional flexibility for licensing authorities to introduce a LNL in an identified part, rather than throughout the whole of, their region. In addition, extra powers will be given to police to call for a consultation on the introduction of the LNL in a given council area. 

What is clear from the bill is that the introduction of a LNL has not had the impact expected and therefore the government are looking at ways of ensuring that a re-vamped LNL can be more easily introduced. 

Fabric nightclub premises licence revoked

Following suspension of the premises licence, the licensing committee determining the review brought by the police decided to revoke the licence and ordered the premises stay closed until the matter can be appealed. 

The reasons given related to alleged management failings. These included failure to prevent drugs from entering the premises and deal with customers inside the premises who the police allege to have been openly asking where to buy, sell and take drugs. The review followed two deaths, with the council finding that the young age of both teenagers was also of concern. It is for the premises licence holder to determine whether to appeal the decision or to accept the judgement and close.

The closure of Fabric was reported widely, with over 150,000 people signing a petition to save the club. Politicians, including the Mayor of London, gave statements to the press relating to the need to preserve London's club heritage and look for ways of working together. Additionally, DJs, industry experts and clubbers have all expressed dismay in the outcome of the case.

The case highlights  the difficulty for licensing committees in promoting what on paper are a simple set of objectives and a more general problem of determining when individuals should be responsible for their own actions, or when premises licence holders should be held accountable. What is clear is that the opinion of those who work in the industry and those whose role is to uphold the law and promote the objectives is at odds. 

This is part of a wider debate that is likely to continue.

Gambling News

New Chair of the Gambling Commission

Culture Secretary, The Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, has appointed Bill Moyes as the new Chair of the Gambling Commission for a term of five years, which commenced in September 2016.

Consultation launched on the transposition of the EU Fourth Money Laundering Directive

HM Treasury has launched its consultation on the transposition of the EU Fourth Money Laundering Directive.

This consultation invites views and evidence on the steps that the government proposes to take, or should take, to meet its obligation to transpose the directive into national law. It also seeks views and evidence on the potential costs and benefits of the changes considered.

The consultation includes a number of proposals in relation to gambling services.

Closing date for responses is 10 November 2016. For more details visit gov.uk 

Out and About

The last month was particularly busy in terms of hearings and meetings, with trips out across the country from Bradford to Bournemouth and London to Cardiff. Matters included new licence applications and variations. 

In addition a contested pavement licence application reinforced the advice we give clients; because an officer recommends or suggests a particular outcome may occur at a hearing, a committee often don't see things in the same way. In this case, the application was granted as requested, but the committee required persuading on the day.   

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at October 2016. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

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