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Almost anybody can make an objection to a premises licence application – including applications to vary a premises licence.

Only relevant objections can be considered as valid.  According to the Licensing Act 2003 and the accompanying statutory guidance, an objection is relevant if:

  1. It was made on time (although some discretion exists here);
  2. It is not deemed to be “vexatious” or “frivolous”; and
  3. It must relate to the effect of the grant of the licence on the promotion of the licensing objectives.

Responsible authorities (such as the police, environmental health and trading standards) can object to your application bit also “other people” which in theory can be anybody.

If your application has attracted objections, here are a few things to consider:

Mediation

Licensing committee/panel hearings are expensive and time consuming for the licensing authority, objectors and applicants.  If therefore it can be avoided, that will be in the interest of everybody.  Mediation by licensing authorities is becoming an increasingly popular occurrence.

Mediation brings together objectors and applicants in order to find a way forward.  Sometimes conversation and dialogue can dispel misunderstanding and result in objectors withdrawing objections.

Negotiation

Another approach to consider is negotiation.  Ideally this should not be a first step in the process but if mediation has not taken place or been effective, it is possible for an applicant to vary their application to mitigate the perceived impact of their application on objectors.

For example, an applicant can reduce the hours they have applied for or accept additional conditions.  This may appease objectors in withdrawing their objection.

Standing your ground

Sometimes however it might be worth standing your ground and make your case to a licensing committee/panel.  You must remember that residents who object to an application can come from a misinformed or unfounded position particularly in cases of new applications where there is no history to draw on.

Licensing committee/panel hearing procedures are prescribed in statutory regulations.  A well prepared case and presentation is absolutely essential particularly in cases where objections have been raised by responsible authorities.

Contact us today for expert licensing advice and representation.

Stephen McCaffrey

Regulatory defence barrister specialising in alcohol and entertainment licensing law, appeals and defence.

Premises licence legal issue?

Licensing Defence Barristers are leading licensing barristers dealing with all legag matters relating to alcohol, entertainment and late-night licences.