Mudcat Café message #1338873 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70681   Message #1338873
Posted By: The Shambles
25-Nov-04 - 11:47 AM
Thread Name: A little more news on Licensing
Subject: RE: A little more news on Licensing
I did score one success, although I will wait and see first, how this will be recorded in the minutes and submitted in the final document to the full council.

The draft had referred to Article 8 of the European Commission on Human Rights [ECHR], which is basically the right to object to someone else's freedom of expression that may be affecting you. When I pointed it out - they rather had to agree to include reference to Article 10, which is your right of freedom of expression. At least the document will now be a little more balanced {and they can now ignore them both equally].

But it is going to be a struggle to get some of the Government's stated good intentions for live music etc, adopted by our LAs. For LAs have recognised the words of the Act do not in fact enable these good intentions to be carried out.

The official line when it comes to asking for measures to encourage live music to be included in the local Licensing Policy appears to be that this may be a matter for the Council –through the Local Cultural Strategy but it is not a matter for the local Licensing Policy or the Licensing Committee.

Other Committees and internal bodies would cover these things and then have to inform the Licensing Committee. The view is that the Licensing Committee just carry out their duties objectively.

This does not seem to work the other way. I pointed out that it was not enough for the Licensing Committee to simply to demonstrate that a borderline musical activity was Regulated Entertainment to enable them to prevent it without the required entertainment permission. But that they would have to establish first if the activity could be prevented under the four objectives of the Act and state what the specific danger presented was.

The Chairman's response was not encouraging and even less encouraging was that no other member seemed to differ or recognise the difficulties presented. He stated that the Council would prevent the activity but only secondly that they would insist of the entertainment permission. Nothing much seems to have changed.

This after all the stuff about having to decide favourably in applications when there was little reason not to and the Government's ideas that this Act would allow live music to thrive. Now there may not be anything in words of the Act that obliges Licensing Committees to encourage live music – but there is certainly nothing in there that specifically requires them to prevent it either.

My next approach is to try to 'hoist them with their own petard'. I will suggest (for inclusion in the Licensing Policy) that when there is any question of the Licensing Section preventing any live music by simply including it as a borderline regulated entertainment – this is first passed to the appropriate section for the relevant Committee or full Council to decide if there are grounds under the four licensing objectives and instruct the Licensing Committee accordingly.

I won't go in to details but the procedure used to appraise the Public Comments at this meeting were seriously flawed. I have written to the Mayor and requested an urgent review as because of the Chairman's preferred method, many comments (most of mine) were simply not able to be discussed by the Committee and were simply lost and will not be presented to the full Council, as a result.