After the new licensing laws were introduced in the UK in 2005, The Society supported local attempts to obtain clarity as to how these arrangements impact on local residents.
One of our members acts as our advisor on licensing matters, and we reproduce below an article from the Autumn edition of the Chislehurst Report.
If you have any matters you would like to draw to our attention, please contact us.
"LATE NIGHT ALCOHOL AND PUB LICENSING APPLICATIONS
Extract from Bromley Council’s Licence Conditions Page 27
‘Where responsible authorities or interested parties do not raise any representations about an application it is the duty of the Licencing Authority to grant the licence or certificate…..’
Judging by how easily licences are getting through, even with concerns expressed by local residents, it is essential that if we want to restrict these late night, early morning closing times in residential areas, we residents are going to have to be more proactive.
Up to now, if you have been affected by a pub or other licensed premises in your road or nearby, you probably tolerated some disturbance from loud voices, car engines, stereos, banging car doors and some boisterous behaviour by customers leaving the pub, knowing that by 11.30 – 11.45pm it would be back to a normal quiet street. But if the pub now decides to apply for a new late licence, midnight, 1 or 2 am, would you be happy to tolerate the disturbance one or two hours later into the night?
In our recent experience, unless a strong case has already been made by residents through letters of concern and most of all strong vocal representations by local residents, then late night licensing could very well be granted, even if you object to the application now.
If you want to prevent this, you cannot leave it to others. You will have to take action yourself. As we said earlier, this means registering current disturbances with Bromley Council’s environmental health teams and our local neighbourhood police.
A most important point is that to have any chance of affecting licensing decisions, you must concentrate on concerns relating to the four licensing objectives, which are: avoiding public nuisance; prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; and protection of children from harm. Usually the first of these is likely to be the most relevant.
If you refer to problems outside these objectives, they will not be considered. A classic example of this is bad parking and congestion; the current rules mean that these are not relevant, even if an ambulance or fire engine can’t get through! Unbelievable, but true!
Most pubs now have new-type licences and if they have regulated entertainment, they are normally required to have doors and windows closed so at to restrict noise to neighbours. Some also have noise limiting devices, set so that occupants of the nearest residential property cannot hear music at a preset decibel rating, that is assuming the windows and doors are shut as required by their licence.
If you are disturbed by entertainment you should report it to Bromley Council and do so regularly. If you do not register disturbances, your concerns over any licences, including late licences, will not normally influence the council’s decisions.
You will have to decide whether to report every time there is a disturbance, or whether to submit a weekly, monthly or maybe quarterly report. You can submit your report by letter, phone or by email with an electronic receipt. You should send a copy to Andy Waddington, the police representative at Bromley Council’s Licensing Team, and a summary of your concerns to our very active Ward Councillor Brian Toms. Their contact details are shown below.
Lastly, even though it is important to log your concerns, you might always consider talking to the publican or pub manager as this might resolve your immediate concerns. A typical example is parking, often across a driveway. If you speak directly to the offender, and if you are annoyed and the culprit has had a drink or two, there is a chance that confrontation will erupt. Instead, especially if it happens more than once, think about having a word with the publican. Most don’t want to upset locals and will request the customer to move the car, thereby avoiding confrontation. This approach may also resolve noise problems if windows and doors are left open allowing music to disturb you.
By taking action, with these points in mind, we are more likely to retain our limited peace and quiet. By doing nothing we may sacrifice it!
As a footnote, your should note that when pubs request these late night licensing hours, the council does not normally inform local residents, as you might expect. Residents’ associations are notified, and this is why the Chislehurst Society has informed its members of such applications.
But you should not wait for this. It is important that you keep a keen eye out for any new A4 notices posted on your local pubs’ doors, windows, fences or walls, which may be a notification of intent to change the hours. Please let the Society know urgently and tell your neighbours, especially your Road Steward.
If you have experience of, or are aware of any more ways of restricting late licensing please write to us at our address at the end of this Report.
Bromley Council (the following four teams are at St Blaise, Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, BR1 3UH):
The Licensing Team
Environmental Health and Trading Standards
020 8313 4218; 020 8461 7956/7546
Public Health Complaints Team
Environmental Health and Trading Standards
020 8313 4830
Out of Hours Service Noise Team
020 8464 4848
Councillor Brian Toms
020 8464 3333
Police (the following are at Metropolitan Police Service, Bromley Borough Police Station. High Street BR1 1ER)
020 8284 9988
Safer Neighbourhoods Team Chislehurst
020 7161 9254. "