LICENSING MATTERS FOR THE YEAR ENDING August 2005RoseMary Matisgrave
Since the last AGM all premises with a licence to sell alcohol were meant to make an application to the Licensing Authority (Bristol City Council) by 1 August. Whether they were renewing their licence or were asking for variations to the existing conditions. The new conditions will come into operation on 24 November. This has created avery large workload for the City Council to bee completed in a relatively short period of time. I have attended several hearings and have been impressed with the thoroughness of the proceedings and the attention paid to residents. In general the outcomes have been satisfactory.
At a Committee Meeting it was agreed that CHIS would take the advice of the local police and ask for a closing time of 12.00 with a maximum of 30 minutes `drinking up' time. Every application was looked at on its own merits and there are some variations to these times.
In the accompanying Newsletter I have explained what residents can do if the situation becomes unacceptable because of noise or nuisance late at night. There is the right to request a review of the licence and ask for variations to the conditions - for instance the closing time or the volume of music. I cannot stress too strongly that to be successful, evidence will be essential. A request for review will have to be backed by facts.
When I have received the information from the Council, I will inform members through the Newsletter, of the times and some other conditions for the various premises.
The new legislation received much publicity in the media. Most newspapers drew their readers' attention to the fact that it was up to them to make representation if an application was not satisfactory. The applicants had to display a blue/grey copy of the application in a place where the public could easily read it - if this was not complied with, then the application was invalid. However, astonishingly few individuals wrote to oppose. For instance two restaurants in Clifton Village asked to stay open until 3.00, one of these also wanted to sell alcohol to those not taking a meal. Neither of these was opposed by any resident. CHIS represents residents in Bristol 8 and willingly did this with licensing, but often our case would have been strengthened if residents, with first-hand knowledge, had also taken action and appeared at the hearing.
If you want to find out more about reviews or the Licensing Act, I have found the website of the Civic Trust's Institute of Alcohol Studies most useful. If you would like a copy of their brochure please email me.
Last, but by no means least, I must express my thanks to the others who have worked so hard to make everything as easy as possible. Special thanks to Bob Chambers (St John's Road Association) who, apart from other things, kept us all up to date with weekly circulation of applications; and to Roger Mortimer (Redland and Cotham Residents Association), who has worked so hard on the papers and trying to keep Whiteladies Road under control. The local police have been unfailing helpful and cooperation over this I am sure will be beneficial to us all.