Licensing policy

Decision making forums

9.1 Licensing decisions will be made in consideration of all relevant legislation, guidance and this policy. The Council will not make decisions that are contrary to the Act, but may deviate from guidance in exceptional circumstances, based on the merits of an individual application. Where this occurs, the Council will give reasons for the departure.

9.2 In accordance with the Act and guidance, the Council will set up three decision-making forums, namely a Licensing Committee, a Licensing Sub Committee and a scheme of delegation to Officers. In the interests of speed, efficiency and cost, the Council will ensure that all decisions are delegated to the most appropriate level within the organisation, as shown in Appendix C.All decisions will be made objectively and not on the basis of any political judgement.

9.3 The Act itself creates a presumption that applications will be granted unless a representation is received. Where a function is delegated to an officer that officer will be responsible for liaising between the applicant; the public objectors and the responsible authorities to ensure that any licence granted is subject to the appropriate conditions. Where representations are made then the licensing officer will once again liaise with the applicant; the public objectors and the responsible authorities to see if an agreement is possible to overcome the objections without the need for the matter to go before the SubCommittee. Where representations are raised which cannot be settled matters will be referred through to the Sub Committee for determination. Contested licensing applications are quasi-judicial in nature, the Sub Committee will try to keep the proceedings as informal as possible. However, some degree of formality is needed to ensure that all parties receive a fair hearing. The procedure is designed to ensure that all parties are able to express their views openly and fairly.

9.4 The Sub-Committee procedure is inquisitorial rather than adversarial and, whilst applicants, public objectors, and responsible authorities are entitled to bring legal representation with them if they wish, this is by no means a requirement to do so.

9.5 The Sub- Committee usually meets in public; it does have power to hear certain applicants in private. The Sub-Committee, will always reach its decision in private. As a matter of good practice, a public announcement of the decision is usually made at the end of the Hearing.

9.6 The Sub-Committee will determine each case on its individual merits whilst taking into consideration the terms of this Policy document. Where the Sub- Committee determines that it is appropriate to attach conditions to the licence/certificate it will ensure that those conditions are focused on the direct impact of the activities taking place at the premises concerned on members of the public in the area concerned. Such conditions will be proportionate to the activity to be controlled and will only be imposed in the interests of the licensing objectives.