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The Shambles Affected by The Licensing Act 2003 (439* d) RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003 13 Apr 07

Letter (from me) published in the Dorset Echo April 12 2007.

Red tape coup- or purple prose?

Cutting licensing red tape? In response to the Echo front page article of April 3, I have to say that the story and the page 8 comment piece make many assumptions.

Where is there any evidence provided that the Department of Media and Sport (DCMS) hold Weymouth and Portland Council as a shining example of how to cut red tape?

Where is there any mention that this red tape - which made life difficult for our traditional Punch and Judy shows - was only recently introduced by the DCMS in their own reform, The Licensing Act 2003?

Why does the Page 8 comment assume that now having to obtain free entertainment permission from the council for every event must be less arduous and time-consuming and costly (for the council) than individuals paying the same council for permission for every event on these spaces?

And as regulated entertainment permission has already been granted for these spaces, why would anyone need to fill in application forms for additional permission, as such permission can hardly be refused by employees of the same authority that granted it?

Can it? And as it looks as if all the activities on these sites only have permission up to 8pm. The activities are already rather limited by this built-in red tape.

I and many others would welcome all real attempts to cut red tape, but perhaps we should more closely examine such claims before rushing to praise the spin.

I do not doubt Councillor Manning's good intentions, and it would be nice if this could be seen as a move towards less control.

But the reality is that for the DCMS this is purely damage limitation - to try and get them off the hook for only recently extending licensing requirements to practically everywhere.

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