LICENSING MATTERS FOR THE YEAR ENDING 31 AUGUST 2004RoseMary Musgrave
It has been a quiet year for licensing in Bristol 8. There have been a few new restaurants which have applied for a 'Restaurant Licence'. This includes a small bar to serve those who are waiting for a table, but not to serve anyone who will not be eating at the premises. There have also been some applications to vary the conditions on an existing licence, none of which were a cause for concern.
However, the national scene has been far from quiet. The Licensing Act received Royal Assent on 10th July 2003. The Government then had to take the legal powers to enable it to instruct Local Authorities to start policy preparation and consultation. This guidance then had to be approved by both Houses, before the Local Authorities could be told to start. Within the framework of the Act, Local Authorities have scope for drawing up their own policies. We still await this Draft Local Licensing Policy from the City Council. CHIS is registered as a "Recognised Representative" and will get the full information. The Council have said that there will be full consultation and meetings. February 7, 2005 is the "first appointed day" which starts the transitional period during which licensing authorities can begin processing licensing applications. The "second appointed day" when the new licensing regime begins and new licences take effect is likely to be in November 2005. I am sure that by the AGM, the Council will have produced the Draft Policy and that we will be able to discuss it then.
Throughout the period of the drawing up of the Licensing Act and over the past year, Roger Mortimer of the Redland and Cotham Society and Robert Chambers have worked assiduously addressing the various issues and keeping other societies informed. I am deeply grateful to them for doing this and making it possible for us to speak as a united front. A resumé of the Act can be found at www.culture.gov.uk/alcohol_and_entertainment/licensing_act_2003 There are links to other relevant information.