Licensing policy

Purpose and scope of this policy

2.1 Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (The Council) is the Licensing Authority under the Licensing Act 2003 (The Act) and is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the regulatory licensing regime governing the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment. Licensing is about regulating licensable activities on licensed premises, by qualifying clubs and at temporary events within the terms of the Act. In addition the conditions attached to various authorisations will be focused on matters which are within the control of individual licensees and others with relevant authorisations.

2.2 The Licensing Act 2003 imposes a statutory duty upon borough councils to produce, develop and review a licensing policy. Our Licensing Policy Statement first came into effect on 7th February 2005. The Policy was last revised in 2015 and should be revised every five years.

2.3 The aim of the policy is to secure the safety and amenity of residential communities whilst facilitating a sustainable entertainment and cultural environment. We recognise both the needs of residents for a safe and healthy environment to live and work and the importance of well-run entertainment premises to the local economy and vibrancy of the borough. In addition commercial occupiers have an expectation of an environment that is attractive and sustainable for their businesses.

2.4 We are committed to partnership working with the police, fire service, local businesses, licensing trade, health boards, residents and others to achieve this aim.

2.5 A corporate enforcement policy is in place which makes provision for shared enforcement with Hertfordshire Constabulary, Trading Standards and the Fire Authority.

2.6 The Council recognises the advantages of a multi-agency safety advisory team (SAT) and participates in the team that operates in the Borough. The aim of the SAT is; to obtain and share information in order to inform member agencies about events that are taking place in order to assist in multi-agency contingency planning. The objectives are;-

  • to provide a local multi-agency single point of contact for event organisers to share information regarding events.
  • to provide a mechanism to receive, share and disseminate information and intelligence amongst SAT partners and other relevant agencies.
  • to evaluate potential impacts of an event on each agency and the wider community.
  • to use information to inform and develop multi- agency contingency planning.
  • to highlight, upon request, and where possible, sources of potential further advice to event organisers.

2.7 We would encourage membership of a “Watch” scheme, e.g. Pub watch, Off watch. We would encourage all businesses to invest in staff training and maintain written records of the training.

2.8 This policy provides information and guidance to licence applicants, objectors and any person on our approach to the Licensing Act. Each application will be considered on its own merits. We will consider this licensing policy in making our decision.

2.9 The Act places a duty on the Council to carry out all its functions under the Act with a view to promoting the four Licensing objectives, namely:

  •  The prevention of crime and disorder;
  •  Public safety;
  • The prevention of public nuisance; and
  • The protection of children from harm.

Each objective is of equal importance. It is important to note that there are no other licensing objectives, so that these four objectives are paramount at all times. Each licence application will be considered on its own merits in the context of the four licensing objectives, and unless relevant representations are received from responsible authorities or other persons, there is no provision for a licensing authority to impose conditions on a licence other than those proposed within an application and mandatory conditions prescribed by the Act.

2.10 However the legislation also supports a number of other key aims and purposes. These are vitally important and should be principal aims for everyone involved in licensing work. They include

  • protecting the public and local residents from crime, anti-social behaviour and noise nuisance caused by irresponsible licensed premises;
  • giving the police and licensing authorities the powers they need to effectively manage and police the night- time economy and take action against those premises that are causing problems;
  • recognising the important role which pubs and other licensed premises play in our local communities by minimising the regulatory burden on business, encouraging innovation and supporting responsible premises;
  • providing a regulatory framework for alcohol which reflects the needs of local communities and empowers local authorities to make and enforce decisions about the most appropriate licensing strategies for their local area; and
  • encouraging greater community involvement in licensing decisions and giving local residents the opportunity to have their say regarding licensing decisions that may affect them.

2.11 For the purposes of the Act, the following are licensable activities:

  • The sale by retail of alcohol;
  • The supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club to, or to the order of, a member of the club;
  • The provision of regulated entertainment;
  • The provision of late night refreshment.

2.12 The Act provides for four different types of authorisation to regulate the provision of these activities:

  • Personal licences – to sell or authorise the sale of alcohol from premises in respect of which there is a premises licence
  • Premises Licences – to use a premises for licensable activities
  • Club Premises Certificates – to allow a qualifying club to engage in qualifying club activities
  • Temporary Event Notices – to carry out licensable activities at a temporary event

2.13 Nothing in this Policy will:

  • prevent any person from applying for any permission and we will considered each application on its individual merits
  • prevent any person from making representations on any application or applying for a review of a licence or certificate under the 2003 Act.

2.14 We expect all applicants for premises licences and club premises certificates to specify the means by which they will promote the four licensing objectives. The application must include an operating schedule addressing the licensing objectives, in particular with regard to the type of premises, the licensable activities to be provided, the operational procedures, the nature of the location and the needs of the local community. An applicant may volunteer any measure as a step he or she intends to take to promote the licensing objectives. The measures are likely to be incorporated into the licence as conditions and become enforceable under the law.

2.15 The operating schedule should contain a dispersal policy if applicable, which sets out the steps which will be taken at the end of the trading session to minimise the potential for disorder and disturbance as customers leave the premise. The policy could include measures to disperse customers over an extended period and ensure customers leave the venue in an orderly fashion and without bottles or glasses.

2.16 Certain temporary events are not required to be licensed but can be notified to the Licensing Authority using the Temporary Event Notice procedure. However, depending on the nature and location of such events, these can have serious crime and disorder implications. Organisers of these events are advised to submit their notification 10 working days prior to the event to enable the application to be processed. The Council operates a Safety Advisory Group and Temporary Event Notices may be required to be considered by the Group.

2.17 Special occasions such as Bank Holidays, birthday parties and private functions in relation to public houses will be dealt with by way of a Temporary Event Notice unless detailed in the operating schedule. 2.18 Premises licences for appropriate public spaces within the district in our own name. The Council hold licences for Hatfield Town centre and Campus West WGC details are in Appendix D.