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The Shambles Affected by The Licensing Act 2003 (439* d) RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003 07 Apr 07

The law is rarely applied equally, anywhere you care to look. Sometimes if you are stopped for a road traffic offence you are let off with a caution. Sometimes you arenīt.

To a certain extent only that may well be the case in practice, but there are policies and guidelines which underpin these variations and allow them to be challeged if they are exceeded or abused. And they are people with enough balls to challenge them.

But what is happening here is that employees of Local Authorities are cherry-picking the legislation and are being encouraged to do this by short term self-interests. They are advising the bits they like as being a requirement of the Act and simply ignoring bits they do not.

As usual it is minority interests that suffer from this selective zeal - as the numbers are few and its supporters appearently so cowed and respectful that their interests can be safely ignored.

A good example is when the officers of Sheffield City Council suggested that the piano required for the carol events was moved out of the bar and into the hall.

The reason for this of course was that a playable piano (according to DCMS advice) would qualfy as an Entertainment Facility. Just its presence would require Premise Licence entertainment permission.

What these same officers are ignoring - is that equally just the presence of a pool table and dart board, would now also qualify as an Entertainment Facility.

So since the introduction of this Act - all the premises in their area (and everywhere else in England and Wales) - if they do not have specific entertainment permission for indoor sports - are illegal.   

I am not against these activities but this is a requirement of this poor legislation. So perhaps we should all ensure that our local authorities do follow this requirement of the Act and publicly question why they are not? Then when all the indoor sports players in England and Wales are also affected - there will be more voices than the current few, demanding that this legislation is urgently reviewed?

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