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Rights (and responsibilities) of residents in licensing procedures

Residents can now have an important role to play in the process for licensing various types of establishment such as bars, nightclubs, pubs, restaurants, betting shops and lap-dancing clubs, for example if a premises has applied for a new licence or to change its opening hours or make other changes that may affect the local community, or if a licensed premises causing problems such as noise.

1. Commenting on a new ‘premises licence’ application or changes to a ‘premises licence’.

A premises licence under Licensing Act 2003 (e.g. for a bar, nightclub or restaurant) authorises the use of a premises for licensable activities . Residents have the right to comment on applications for new premises licences and applications by existing premises to change the way they currently operate. This is called making a “relevant representation”. It is usually an objection to the application, but can be in support.

A ‘relevant representation’ must relate to the ‘likely effect’ of the grant of the application on the promotion of the ‘licensing objectives ‘relevant representation’ must relate to the ‘likely effect’ of the grant of the application on the promotion of the ‘licensing objectives ’.

Anyone who makes a ‘relevant representation’ has the right to attend and speak at a hearing. A hearing will take place unless all parties agree that a hearing is not necessary (if, for example, all representations have been withdrawn prior to the hearing).

*General information and advice on How to make a relevant representation to a licence application *

Licensing Act 2003

If you have already made a representation you will be invited to attend the hearing. Please see our Licensing hearings: A 10 step guide for residents in City Westminster

The processes for applications for activities such as betting shops or ‘sexual entertainment venues’ share many similarities with the above but also have crucial differences. Feel free to contact us for more information.

2. Problems with existing premises licences.

If you are having problems with a licensed premises, for example undue noise nuisance, you have the right to apply for a ‘review’ of the licence in connection with a matter relating to the ‘licensing objectives’.

It is good practice to seek to resolve matters with the licence holder and the local authority before applying for a review of the licence. Resolving problems informally can be a quicker and easier solution for all concerned.
A review application must be supported by robust evidence of problems connected with the use of that particular premises for ‘licensable activities ’, and how that impacts on the promotion of the ‘licensing objectives’.

Resolving problems with licensed premises

Please note that this is general guidance only. Reviews must have a suitable evidential basis and follow certain requirements, so it is important to keep a record and/or call the Council’s Noise Team on 020 7641 2000 when you are disturbed – you can log all problems using this print-out noise sheet. It is also a good idea to talk to fellow residents to see if they experience the same problems.

It is possible to review a betting shop licence. It is not possible to review a ‘sexual entertainment venue’ licence.

Feel free to contact us for assistance with your specific case, free of charge.