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Licensing Bill - How will it work ?

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Dave Bryant 17 Jul 03 - 11:45 AM
cockney 17 Jul 03 - 12:14 PM
IanC 17 Jul 03 - 12:16 PM
cockney 17 Jul 03 - 12:19 PM
IanC 17 Jul 03 - 12:24 PM
Kevin Sheils 17 Jul 03 - 12:24 PM
Dave Bryant 17 Jul 03 - 12:29 PM
DMcG 17 Jul 03 - 12:32 PM
IanC 17 Jul 03 - 12:38 PM
The Shambles 17 Jul 03 - 03:13 PM
Folkiedave 17 Jul 03 - 04:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jul 03 - 04:28 PM
Folkiedave 17 Jul 03 - 06:20 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Jul 03 - 06:32 PM
Gareth 17 Jul 03 - 07:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jul 03 - 07:50 PM
The Barden of England 18 Jul 03 - 03:29 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 18 Jul 03 - 03:36 AM
IanC 18 Jul 03 - 03:48 AM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jul 03 - 05:54 AM
Dave Bryant 18 Jul 03 - 06:00 AM
nickp 18 Jul 03 - 06:17 AM
The Shambles 18 Jul 03 - 09:08 AM
The Shambles 18 Jul 03 - 09:24 AM
The Shambles 18 Jul 03 - 09:58 AM
Little Hawk 18 Jul 03 - 10:17 AM
The Shambles 18 Jul 03 - 11:00 AM
Gareth 18 Jul 03 - 11:11 AM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jul 03 - 11:23 AM
Dave Bryant 18 Jul 03 - 11:47 AM
The Barden of England 18 Jul 03 - 12:34 PM
Grab 18 Jul 03 - 01:18 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jul 03 - 02:39 PM
The Shambles 18 Jul 03 - 07:16 PM
The Shambles 18 Jul 03 - 07:34 PM
The Barden of England 19 Jul 03 - 06:37 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Jul 03 - 06:45 AM
The Barden of England 19 Jul 03 - 07:21 AM
The Shambles 19 Jul 03 - 01:09 PM
ET 19 Jul 03 - 05:12 PM
Gareth 19 Jul 03 - 05:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Jul 03 - 06:43 PM
The Shambles 20 Jul 03 - 05:43 AM
Gareth 20 Jul 03 - 08:00 AM
The Shambles 20 Jul 03 - 02:00 PM
Gareth 20 Jul 03 - 02:08 PM
The Shambles 20 Jul 03 - 02:42 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Jul 03 - 04:33 AM
Dave Bryant 21 Jul 03 - 05:18 AM
Gareth 21 Jul 03 - 05:56 AM
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Subject: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 11:45 AM

The thread entitled Licensing Bill moves on -OUR FUTURE has got much too long, so now that the bill has been passed, perhaps we should have a new thread. I suggest that this is used to discuss subjects such as:

How the new Licensing Bill will affect us in practice ?
How we can get around any of it's restrictions ?
What pressure can we exert on Local Authorities to make sure that it is not used in a too draconian manner ?
How can we support and (perhaps educate) the publicans etc that we come in contact with ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: cockney
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:14 PM

Good idea David! - In some ways it may be a good thing. The Tudor Barn where we hold our weekly folk club, cannot get a license at present, even though the landlord is willing to pay - they cannot make the alterations to the building that the conditions of the PEL require - because it is a listed building!!! The irony is that Greenwich council own it!

If I am interpreting what I've seen of the bill correctly, these conditions will be suspended in the case of acoustic music - so we'll be alsight for our sing-arounds. Not sure about the PA nights though, I think there was some sort of mention of partial suspension of conditions - if so which parts?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: IanC
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:16 PM

As far as I'm concerned, now the bill's all done and dusted, we can only hope the EFDSS and Musicians' Union etc. can have some influence on the "Guidance". Alternatively we could wait for a Tory government to repeal this appaling right-wing legislation.

I'm principally involved in (in each case I organise these, so I'm likely to really catch it!)

Sword Dancing (rapper)
Mummers Plays
Pub Sessions

Only the latter is safe in our case, as we definitely are incidental to the main purpose of the pub we're in.

As regards Rapper Sword Dancing, that is not covered by the "Morris Exemption" as it's not in the open air, and Mummers Plays will also be clearly illegal. In both cases, these have been questionably illegal up till now but our local authority have been happy to see it happen and to look the other way as appropriate.

I suspect we'll continue to do what we do illegally from whenever the act takes effect. I don't think this will be a fantastic handicap to us as either the Local Authority will continue to turn a blind eye (or convince them,selves it's legal for some reason) or prosecute me ... at which time the fun WILL BEGIN.

If we don't look like being prosecuted, I'm still being tempted by the idea of deliberately drawing the attention of the police, as I think we can win the Human Rights argument and now it's US vs THEM because it's the organiser who's doing something illegal.

I'd like to see us start up a fighting fund so that we can have a single test case. Perhaps EFDSS or someone else could supervise this. I'm happy to fundraise ... especially if the fundraising activity is itself illegal.

I think it's probably time the worm turned. If we were prepared to do this, it could be King Blare's equivalent of the Poll Tax.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: cockney
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:19 PM

Blimey, I didn't realise it was that bad!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: IanC
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:24 PM

Well, it is.

Actually, I'm looking forward to 6 months inside for "Organising and illegal Mummers Play". I'd be unrepentant and wouldn't pay any fine or agree to be "bound over to keep the peace" so i'd have to be given the max. sentence (and I wouldn't get remission as there'd be no chance of being "rehabilitated").

Think of all the research work I could do! And they'll pay my mortgage too ... rather them than me!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:24 PM

There certainly is a deal of confusion about the acoustic music suspension but my reading of the situation is No Licence No Music full stop.

Where the "concession" comes in is shrouded in lack of definition but I believe that, provided you have a licence, small acoustic gatherings "may" at the discretion of the licencing authority be exempted from some of the more onerous conditions of the licence.

Of course, as with most of the drafting of this awful piece of legislation it appears to be discretionary and I have yet to see, and don't believe there is, a definition of what "onerous conditions" are.

So a complete mess. Put in a few waffle words to fool people into thinking there's a concession and push the legislation through seems to be the approach taken. Trust no-one as they say.

Any experts care to add some clear enlightenment on this, am I correct?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:29 PM

If we can fight to keep the cost of a license as low as possible - with a cap on what LAs are able to charge for "varying" conditions, there is the chance that many local authorities will decide that they can't make any revenue from the bill and will only want to do the minimum. This might result in a reluctance to enforce the PEL side too tightly.

I am still interested to know how the bill will affect existing PEL licenses and restrictions.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: DMcG
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:32 PM

Suppose we put on an unlicenced mummer's play. Am I right in thinking such a case would be before a magistrate?

What would be grounds for an appeal, and what would be the mechanism? In short, how do we minimise the risk of the test case just re-inforcing the law that all mummer's plays, etc, are illegal?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: IanC
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 12:38 PM

Unless the law is changed to disallow jury trial for crimes which could result in a prison sentence (as King Blare currently is trying to do) then I think the accused could opt for trial by jury. If that's the case, the jury could decide to Pervert The Law, which would result in it being effectively nullified. This has been done recently (read the article).

Appeals can be made on the basis that the particular action (gaoling someone for organising a mummers play) contravenes Human Rights legislation.

;-)


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 03:13 PM

Given the main thrust of the support for the Bill was on the grounds of protecting residents from noise - the idea that conditions that concern themselves with these objectives of the Bill - can be made non effective for entertainment permission and that this can provide ANY practical use to anyone- is rather strange.

Let us look at a case where noise from amplified music is considered as presenting a problem to residents now. Conditions could be applied that still permit some form of amplified music. These can be conditions like time limits or structural things like sound proofing-shutters or noise cut outs. If these are not agreed to - no music, even non amplfied (exept for two performer exempt) music - can take place

Under the act - these type of conditions can still be placed but would be non effective - if applied.

Now in the case of time limits etc - making these conditions, subsequently non effective will not present too much a problem - but in practice - if conditions that require structural modifications are not agreed to and not undertaken - permission to provide entertainment will not be given - to protect the residents. So no live music will be able to take place, even if it is to be non amplified.

The same is true if the optional application is not even made.   

In reality no licensee is just going to request permission to provide non amplified music - even if such a tick box was available for this.

And we don't know what form the so-called tick box(es) will take.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 04:05 PM

I suspect the easiest way will be to fight anything like this in court and defend onesself.

There have been a lot so many confusing messages going out that it must be possible to show any self-respecting magistrate that the law is difficult to understand. And once the law gets the idea that every time they arrest a folkie they will have to go to court for trivialities then they might stop doing it.

Another thing is that I am sure we are still allowed to opt for jury trials..........now there is a wicked thought.............

Dave


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 04:28 PM

Sword dancing I would think would be likely to be treated as within the category of "similar" to Morris Dancing. I'm quite sure that most people who aren't involved in folk music would regard it as essentially much the same.

I can't see how the fact that it takes place indoors woudl make any difference. Nothing about that in the amendment so far as I can see, one way or another.

Whether "similar to" could be stretched to cover Mumming is another matter. There are Mummers Plays where I think it could be. Especially if "dancing" is a matter of moving with musical accompaniment, as has been asserted by local councils on the basis of legal advice; the human voice is, of course, a musical instrument.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 06:20 PM

I am setting myself up as a consultant and expert witness. I can certainly show a link between Morris dancing and mumming.

And break dancing.........and hip hop........and most other things given some time..............


Dave


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 06:32 PM

Rapper Ok, so long as you don't use amplifiers - assuming it is Morris or of a similar nature, which I think it is.

Mumming, sorry, that's drama. No exemptions.

Acoustic waiver of conditions. Probably useless. You see if you want to benefitn from this relaxation, there has to be a music licenec first. Now we know there is only one licence - that's a large art ofthe oint of the Act. So when you apply for your booze licence, you tick box for one to cover regulated entertainment too. You have to file an operating plan. If it says "No music with amplifiers" (which would also mean no jukebox) that may be one thing. But if you say no live music etc, then the LA may say "NO licence until you put in (etc)". Or it may say "You can sell beer but you can't have any music until (etc)". If the former, all of the capital condition have to be satisfied before you can sell beer. So the landlord has to pay up. If the latter, the relaxation works.

Geddit?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 07:26 PM

Deja Vue (SP)

The original campaign was to stop Local Authorities using PEL's as a "cash cow" - well you have your wish - All fees will be centrally fixed. The object now must be to see that the fees are reasonable and affordable.

Fire inspections - they had to be done anyway - so whats the big deal ? - I am afraid in this litigational society, new act or no, any licencing bench would have put thmselves at risk if they did not act on a Fire Officers recomendations. I am afraid that any Licencing Council would be at risk from personal surcharge by the District Auditors if basic Health and Safety Considerations were not examined, and acted on.

Now lets look at the senario. Why should any overtasked Police Officer bother about prosecution when he can :-

1/. Confiscate the Instruments and Amplifiyers ?

2/. Shut the premises for 24 hours, and object to licensce renewal ?

and if he gets any lip - Nick for various offences not conected with PELs.

One thing I have learn't in my 50 odd years, is that if you leave a loophole some smart arse will try and drive an HGV thru it.

And yes, there are premises which cause a great deal of aggrovation to local residents, non Folk maybe, but you try and differentiate !

This Act will make it easier to control them, without the risk of a brick through your window, your car damaged, or suffering an assult as the price for standing up in a Magistrates Court to give evidence.

Now Kim Howells admitted privatley (Hamish and others know the reference) the the Act was not perfect, but I an afraid that hurling insults at Kim Howells was not an ideal way of convincing him of the rightousness of our cause. The South Wales Group of Labour MP's was provided with the ULR's to see the arguments from the Folk movement. Many of these arguments were valid, others resembled those of "Dreaded Guest", and maybe, just maybe, screwed the Pooch.

The object now must be :-

1/. Keep costs reasonable

2/. Help and encourage Licensees to apply for PELS as part of the normal licencing procedure - and simplify the forms.

Do that and we have a result, fail and it reminds me of the old proverb :- Do not wish too hard, your wish may be granted !

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 07:50 PM

The original campaign was to stop Local Authorities using PEL's as a "cash cow"

That was just one aspect of it, but by no means the only one. As I reported, within a few short miles of where I live, im two different counties, we had sessions which had been going well, for quite some years even, andn they were closed down because of the regulations. Nothing do with the locals authorities especially using PEL's as a cash cow.

In one case it was because another licensee had made a complaintb that more than two people at a time were playing in the bar of a rival establishment; in the other it was because the other conbditions laid down by the local authority for a PEL were excessive.

The main reason why Kim Howells came in for such stick was because he went on the Mike Harding show on Radio 2 and made a firm promise that there would be no question of a licence being needed for sessions "so long as money isn't changing hands" - and he then he then chose to disregard this in the legislation he shepherded through.

There are circumstances, such as war and peace, where it might be possible to seek excuse a politician for lying. But this wasn't one of them. If he'd lie over this, he'd lie over anything.

It won't be as bad as it would have been if the Government hadn't been forced to back down on a few things. But it would have been so very easy to have framed this legislation in a way which would have made things far better than they ever have been, and this was what we were entitled to expect. The only obstacle to this happening was an arrogant refusal to take advice, and to admit mistakes.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 03:29 AM

I'm going to wait to see if the JCHR have anything to say about this act. I thought the whole point was about public safety and the prevention of crime and disorder - wo what about big screen televisions showing live events? Am I right in thinking that Juke Boxes will have to be licensed as they are recorded music? It seems funny to me that a pub could show Glastonbury Live, but then not able to show any edited highlights as they are not 'simultaneous reception and playing'. Does that also mean that the licensee will have to turn the screen off every time they show a replay of a goal, and of course the highlights of the first half at half time?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 03:36 AM

heloo,this,goverment,is,a,big,load,of,shit
and,kim,howells,is,a,stewpid,arseole
ps,so,is,tony,blare.
they're,all,bastards
this,is,my,opimion.john


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: IanC
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 03:48 AM

Kevin

My mistake ... the original amendment appeared to be about dancing "in the open air". I see the act doesn't mention that, so rapper should be OK.

:-(


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 05:54 AM

I'm curious about the interspersed commas between all John from Hull's words. Is it an intended effect, and in that case, what is the intention?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 06:00 AM

It is all part of John's act to make you think that he,is,a,stewpid,arseole !


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: nickp
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 06:17 AM

I seem to think from another thread that John said his keyboard had lost the use of the space bar.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 09:08 AM

But if you say no live music etc, then the LA may say "NO licence until you put in (etc)". Or it may say "You can sell beer but you can't have any music until (etc)". If the former, all of the capital condition have to be satisfied before you can sell beer. So the landlord has to pay up. If the latter, the relaxation works.

For the reason I exressed - I don't think the so-called relaxation on any structural conditions can work (or was even intended to). But I do agree that how the tick box(es) is worded is crucial and this may just possibly enable the measure to have some small effect....We wait to see this guidance and the level of the charge.

So we have the passed it and the legislation is in place but - we still no real idea of what the most important aspects of it will be.


Why the rush? I am sorry Gareth but I am lifelong Labour supporter and I have heard all this same spin from my own MP - and I will not buy it. The idea that we upset Howells and Co and that this was even partly responsible for them continuing to ignore all the sensible and reasonably worded concerns being made to them - is just nonsense. If it were true - the stock of this Government, if it reacted in the childish, unwise and arrogant way you describe - deserves to be even lower than it currently is.

The hope was that finally we could see entertainment legislation that honestly addressed safety concerns rather continue to use these vital concerns as cover to enable all sorts of hypocrisy to take place. And I hoped that it would remove the fact that music makers had to rely on a third party to obtain permission for them. That as far as music was concerned - the glass would be considered in the future- by our officials as half full rather than half empty.

I refer to refusals for permissions to provide entertainment made on grounds of morality or of taste - under reasons like car parks being too small etc.

Let us look at the arguments used by the LGA and those they represent - who have duped and decoyed this Government's attention away from their excesses into supporting these bogus arguments.

Look at the objectives of the Act and then look at the reasons why certain activities are not covered or are exempt. The reasons vary from the costs presented to the industry or in the case of TV sport - because no one had requested it to be licensed.

We have long debates on whether an event is designed to make a profit etc - when all that matters is if the event is safe or the best way to ensure that it is safe without risking the activity.

At the very last minute we have the Government using the LGA's letter against exempting the proposed small events exemption on the grounds of safety - when this body had made no such opposition to the Government's own amendment to exempt any commercial entertainment in any place of public worship, from any licensing controls at all!

The US idea of house concerts was looking to gain ground in the UK - but of course that concept will not now be possible - not because it would be unsafe - but if it was designed to make a profit.

The answer of course would be to hold these concerts in your local church. It may not be very warm, safe or have any toilets but you could make as much noise or as much profit as you wished without any licensing controls.

Or of course you could hold the concert in your home - but always remember to ensure that a tame Morris side was also booked to dance.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 09:24 AM

Now lets look at the senario. Why should any overtasked Police Officer bother about prosecution when he can :-

1/. Confiscate the Instruments and Amplifiyers ?

2/. Shut the premises for 24 hours, and object to licensce renewal ?

and if he gets any lip - Nick for various offences not conected with PELs.


Perhaps Gareth you should have presented these arguments to your Government? Why should this Government have insisted on opposing the proposed small events exemption - when the powers you refer to (and more) were already in place?

In peddling the Government myths - it may have escaped your attention that the position that adequate controls already exsisted - was the position your Government opposed.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 09:58 AM

From Hamish Birchall

On Monday 21 July the Joint Committee on Human Rights will publish a further report incorporating their conclusions about the Licensing Act 2003 and live music.

The JCHR website is: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/hrhome.htm


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 10:17 AM

Bill requires no license. Since playing James T. Kirk he has attained a legendary status that supercedes the need for such ordinary legal certification, and can go anywhere and do anything he pleases. Kind of like what Austin Powers yearns for, but will never quite succeed in achieving...

Sound to me like you've got way too many lawmakers in England. Time for another revolution, lads! To the Tower with the vile oppressors! Give them the sword, I say!

- LH


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 11:00 AM

Bill has now changed his name to Act.

Something I would suggest that Mr Shatner knows little about.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 11:11 AM

Now lets look at the senario. Why should any overtasked Police Officer bother about prosecution when he can :-

1/. Confiscate the Instruments and Amplifiyers ?

2/. Shut the premises for 24 hours, and object to licensce renewal ?

and if he gets any lip - Nick for various offences not conected with PELs.


Nice try Shambles - Unfortunately for your argument Points 1 & 2 are as a result of this Act.

Licensing reform was needed. In general terms the public needs some form of protection - the existing Law was not effective.

I am not convinced that this Act is perfect, but there is to be a revue.

Your comments would be better served marshalling the facts for that revue, and evidencing where and how there are imperfections.

Unless you take the view that there should be no licences absolutly ?

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 11:23 AM

"a revue" - now that could be entertaining. Lotsf singing and dancing and humorous sketches.

But a panto might be more in keeping with what we've seen so far.

"I am not convinced that this Act is perfect" - my God, that's pretty hard-hitting stuff, Gareth.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 11:47 AM

Gareth - I don't think that there there should be no licenses at all, but why not license the the things that really have been shown to raise problems of public nuisance or safety ?

There are several pubs near to me, which have loud recorded music every weekend, and which attract way over 200 youngsters each. In spite of (or because of) having bouncers on the doors, there are usually police cars outside by the end of most evenings. During the recent world cup, I saw many cases of vandalism and nuisance as supporters rolled out of pubs with large screen TV. Yet the government in their wisdom has decided that this sort of event does not require an entertainments license.

How many folk clubs or sessions do you know that need bouncers ? - mind you, the sight of a Black Maria being filled with folkies might become common, if the new Licensing Act is enforced vigorously. If the small events clause had been retained intact (even with the numbers reduced to 150 or 100) most folk clubs and sessions would have been exempt. Would this have posed any serious problems for public safety or nuisance ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 12:34 PM

Dave - I think recorded music is now regarded as needing a PEL as I can see nowhere in the Act to show that it is exempt. However Big Screen is another matter, but the language suggests that it has to be Live Broadcast, and as I said earlier where does that leave the recorded highlights a half time?

Gareth - I don't think that points 1 & 2 are a result of this act, maybe you meant "resulted in this act". You also mentionbed Folk and how do you differentiate. Well that was fairly easy as we kept on trying to make them see the sense of acoustic music being just not that noisy. The only thing they came back with was about 6 Japanese drummers - - see them every day don't we!!

No - I'm sorry, but if a minister cannot take a bit of criticism from the citizens of this country, he should not be there in the first place, for after all he is supposed to represent us, not resent us. Some very sensible things were put forward, but rejected out of hand.

Finally I'll ask you why we can't enjoy the freedoms that our fellow citizens of the United Kingdom & Northern Ireland enjoy. I of course mean our brotherts in Scotland. Does the National Parliament think that they are at less of a risk than us? Or do they think they are not worth the bother? Or for that matter the congregation at Churches? I'm sorry it just doesn't wash, it just smacks of "I've made my mind up and I'll not be swayed" I'm afraid. I just can't believe that a Labour Government can have got it so wrong.

I must agree however that we must let our licensees know that they'll need a PEL for Darts, pool, Karaoke and the Juke Box, so include Live Music in the operating plan and tick the Box, as they're going to have to tiuck the box anyway. The big problem is that so many pubs are managed these days, and the premises licence will probably held, and initiated elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Grab
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 01:18 PM

If you don't think acoustic music is noisy, I suggest you attend any orchestra or choir of your choice and get your mind changed! Even a single bloke with a trumpet is a force to be reckoned with! Sure, a guy with an acoustic guitar or a mandolin or something isn't significantly noisy, but we're not the only acoustic musicians our there.

I do agree with Dave's point though, that folk clubs should be well down the list of places needing extra regulation!

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 02:39 PM

You don't get many orchestra's in pubs. And even when they sound loud in a concert hall, it doesn't actually carry that far, unlike electronically amplified music, where the actual,voliume is likely to be far higher, even on a duo.

If you can still find a pub with a trad band with trumpets and all, unamplified, just step outside into the car park. The noise fades away remarkably before you've gone too far.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 07:16 PM

Why are WE still hung-up on noise - especially those who welcome the Act - when the the Act itself isn't?

For can someone please explain to me why if noise from music is such a problem and can only be dealt with by the blanket entertainment licensing contained in this Act - why there is a Government amendment that does not allow any licensing conditions based on this objective of the Act i.e noise - to take effect?

Are those residents suffering from noisy (usually already licensed)premises - who are under the impression that the Act is going to help them combat this noise - actually aware that the Government have given them this amendment?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 07:34 PM

Why are WE still hung-up on noise - especially those who welcome the Act - when the the Act itself isn't?

For can someone please explain to me why if noise from music is such a problem and can only be dealt with by the blanket entertainment licensing contained in this Act - why there is a Government amendment that does not allow any licensing conditions based on this objective of the Act i.e noise - to take effect?

Are those residents suffering from noisy (usually already licensed)premises - who are under the impression that the Act is going to help them combat this noise - actually aware that the Government have given them this amendment?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 06:37 AM

Point taken Roger.

For me it's not noise so much as the inferrence that what I do is somehow going to turn mild mannered reporters into yobs. However, seeing as the act is 'de facto' I'm just trying to point out that

1) We are being treated Nationally different to some of our fellow citizens
2) Because of the way the legislation is couched it is in our interest to point out to licensees that they will have to 'tick the box' if they want to keep darts, pool etc. etc., so what harm will it do them to include live music in the plan.

This is the direction we should now come from in my opinion. Just wondered if anybody has any other ideas, seeing as we must now accept the inevitable.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 06:45 AM

"we must now accept the inevitable."

That's not the way to put it. Rather - we now have a better idea what we are up against, and what we need to do to get by until it is set right, taking advantage of any loopholes or concessions, and minimising danage.

And also we proabbaly have a better idea how we can try to work to make sure that it is set right.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 07:21 AM

Yes - my poor use of the language. You've said exactly what I'm trying to say, and of course what this thread is about. How do we now use this act to our advantage - that's the real question I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 01:09 PM

Gareth stated:

Now lets look at the senario. Why should any overtasked Police Officer bother about prosecution when he can :-

1/. Confiscate the Instruments and Amplifiyers ?

2/. Shut the premises for 24 hours, and object to licensce renewal ?

and if he gets any lip - Nick for various offences not conected with PELs.


Nice try Shambles - Unfortunately for your argument Points 1 & 2 are as a result of this Act.

I have emailed Gareth with the following message from Hamish Birchall - as requested by him. I post the message in full here as it is vital - if we are to make the most out of the Act - that we all understand it and other legislation.

It is also vital that incorrect information i.e. not 'spin' but lies -that Labour MPs and supporters would like to be true - are not accepted by us as being true...

Hamish writes

Gareth

I am sorry, but you have been seriously misinformed. Powers of seizure of noisy sound equipment and police power to close noisy pubs immediately have been around for a while.

They are emphatically NOT an innovation of the Licensing Act 2003.

I will set out the detail below and address your other misconceptions apparent from your discussion with Roger Gall. You can verify my statements about noise legislation independently with the Noise and Nuisance Policy Branch of DEFRA (020 7944 6429) and about police powers of closure with Chief Inspector Peter Keown of the Greater Manchester Police who represents the Association of Chief Police Officers on the Licensing Advisory Group (0161 856 3361).

1.    The Noise Act 1996 clarified local authority powers of seizure of noisy sound equipment already outlined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA). Since 1996 it has been clear in the law that all authorities have the power to seize noisy sound equipment immediately.

In addition, all local authorities not only have the power to issue reactive Noise Abatement notices under the EPA, they can also issue anticipatory Noise Abatement notices if they are satisfied a statutory nuisance is likely to occur or recur. The time allowed for compliance with an abatement notice is specified by the local authority and can be immediate. Breach of an abatement notices carries a fine of up to £20,000.

2.    The police have had the power to close noisy licensed premises immediately for up to 24 hours since December 2001. This was a consequence of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 which amended the Licensing Act 1964.

3.    Also under the Licensing Act 1964 the police have the power to initiate a review of a justices on-licence if they believe the premises is a serious nuisance to local residents (i.e. in response to neighbour complaints), and on review or renewal licensing justices have the power to impose conditions relating to noise or indeed a 'safe capacity' (usually done on the recommendation of either an environmental health inspector, or fire safety officer).

The reason why these powers have not been implemented efficiently to the satisfaction of local residents is not because the legislation is inadequate: it is because of a lack of resources, and probably a lack of joined-up thinking between local authorities, the police and licensing magistrates.

Now to other points:

The original campaign was not simply to stop local authorities using PELs as a 'cash cow'. It was that, but more importantly it was also a campaign to reform licensing so that places like bars, clubs, restuarants etc could host live music ensembles automatically, within certain reasonable constraints. In short, to treat live music as a normal part of community life, and to allow it to thrive as a secondary business of such venues. This happens in other European countries, notably Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, Finland and Denmark - why not here?

The Musicians' Union accepted that licensing could be necessary where premises specialise in music, or music and dancing, particularly if opening late.

As far as health and safety, and fire safety is concerned, it is plain that subsisting legislation is perfectly adequate for small-scale performance in such premises, irrespective of licensing. The exemption for places of public religious worship amply demonstrate that - if safety law is OK to provide amplified bands in churches (a common occurrence in evangelical places of worship), why is this legislation mysteriously deficient in, say, a library, restaurant or bar? The Government's near-hysterical babbling about trailing cables, staging, lighting etc was a complete red-herring. (See attached email from the Health and Safety Executive re trailing cables.)

As for fire safety, consider this statement by a senior officer from the London Fire Brigade, commenting on over-crowding in bars during the World Cup last year: 'We have the power to go into a pub or any other premises unannounced and place a restriction order on it that can be indefinite. I personally did it recently with a snooker hall. It is nothing to do with the licensing regime, it is simply the law of the land'. ['Hosts warned on Cup crowds', Morning Advertiser, front page, Thursday 13 June 2003].

The same paper carried a report about a Bristol Walkabout pub having to conduct an emergency evacuation because a ceiling started to come down on drinkers. Five people had to be treated for injuries. This was caused by football supporters jumping up and down while watching a big match in the first floor bar.

And of course ACPO wanted televised sporting events in bars to be licensable as entertainment because they are, in their own words, 'quite frequently a source of disorder'. The Government never put forward any evidence of disorder caused by the two in a bar rule, or any of the other PEL exemptions. And yet they abolished those exemptions, and ignored the televised sporting events. Musicians have been made the scapegoat for problems that are nothing to do with live music.

Kim Howells admitted the Licensing Bill was not perfect - not the Licensing Act. And what about the new Act? Where the provision of live music is concerned it is vastly more complex than the present law.

It is chock-full of complex, obscure and ambiguous provisions that will inevitably lead to test cases at needless cost to the tax-payer, local authorities, and businesses. The 'incidental' exemption sounds good on paper - except that lawyers are now telling us that it won't work if a venue provides any 'entertainment facility' (like a piano) because of the wording. Until a test case establishes the boundary of the definition, we cannot know how local authorities will interpret it.

The last minute government amendments concerning the potential 'suspension' of licence conditions in small premises make little sense. For example: late-opening bars will be initially exempt from any noise nuisance condition round the clock if they are licensed for and providing live music, amplified or otherwise.

Paradoxically, other places like restaurants will be subject to the full range of licence conditions, including noise, between midnight and 8am. The Local Government Association has already labelled this provision as unnecessarily complex and difficult to enforce.

The Morris dancing exemption is great - but it creates more anomalies: unamplified performance is legal if accompanying folk dancers, but illegal if featured on its own as entertainment. Where is the logic in that? Should all musicians now become Morris dancers so that at least unamplified live performance would be free of entertainment licensing?

The abolition of high annual PEL fees is the one unambiguously welcome provision in the Act, but the legislation maintains an unjust discrimination against live music, placing a significant legislative hurdle before any featured performance - even by one unamplified performer - whereas most canned entertainment gets through on the nod no matter how many people attend, no matter how powerfully amplified.

The government has, in effect, based its grass-roots cultural policy on this ridiculous statement by ACPO:

'Live music always acts as a magnet in whatever community it is being played. It brings people from outside that community and having no connection locally behave in a way that is inappropriate, criminal and disorderly'.
Chris Fox, President, Association of Chief Police Officers: letter to Tessa Jowell, DCMS, 2 July 2003

Is that something for the Labour Party to be proud of?

Hamish Birchall


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: ET
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 05:12 PM

Be careful of fees. The Local Government Association has a web site and is already campaigning long and hard to control fees locally - back to square one.

And it probably wont be folkies in court but owners of unlicensed (for music) premises. And most will just tell musicians where to go if they have no licence...so sacrifices in court and trips to the Court of European Rights in Strasbourg just will not happen. The best hope in my view is for a future minister to amend the definition of regulated entertainment to exclude acoustic music.

Tony looked suicidal himself on tele tonight. Maybe if he goes we will be in the hands of the Deputy PM. Bloody hel. Thats Prescott, known as the Mouth of the Humber!


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 05:13 PM

Well I could ignore Shambles post and go for the quiet life, but I think that the more rational comments of Hamish require some response.

1/. The powers of confiscation of equipment in the past were held by local authority enforcement officers - how well they were used depended upon the attitude of each local authority.

2/. My undertanding, and this was obtained after discussions with local police, was that the existing powers to suspend a licencse were convoluted, and ultimatley on convincing the Magistrates. The police found them unsatisfactory.

I am aware that parts of the Act are unsatisfactory, and yes I concur that Widescreen sporting events should be within the purview of the Act.

We have seen in this and other threads discussions on finding loopholes etc. Fine, only it's not only respectable Folkies who will be looking for loopholes.

The point Dave Bryant, who started this thread, was trying to make was that the Act is here - how to we ensure that Muscians of our inclination can opperate under it?

I recall many threads and posts ago making this point, that the presure must be to ensure that the cost of application and compliance are reasonable, and the means of obtaining that licence easy ans understandable. I don't think that this has been fully addressed.

Finally, that the Public now have a means of input into the matter, that was long overdue.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Jul 03 - 06:43 PM

"the Public now have a means of input into the matter" - so how does that work? How do I, as a member ofvbthe public, actually access these means?

I've lost count if the letters I've sent my MP about this over the last year or so, mostly without a response.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 05:43 AM

The whole argument against the need for blanket entertainment licensing of all live music is based on the fact that exsisting legislation is already in place to deal with all the potential problems.

The reason these current measure are not more widely used, is mainly because the blunt tool of the current Licensing regime, is preferred as a more profitable if unfocused and less effective method.

Gareth - I don't really see that if your position, (and the standing of the Labour Party), is to have any respectabilty at all - that you could have ignored my post (as many Labour MPs have just ignored many letters to them and just as many plain facts).

The main point of Hamish's entirely rational and detailed comment was to finally demonstrate the following - in reference to your two points.

They are emphatically NOT an innovation of the Licensing Act 2003.

When you had earier, incorrectly and just as empatically stated - with no evidence provided:

Nice try Shambles - Unfortunately for your argument Points 1 & 2 are as a result of this Act.

Perhaps if you wish to have a quiet life - and unlike your political masters - you could just apolgise for your mistake and for misleading anyone reading your post - as to what the true facts are.

I am afraid the 'Googly - Gook' words you used - about what your understanding was - will not be enough to prevent you from being seen as attempting to peddle 'myths', in true 'Howellsian' fashion.

Despite your waffle - do you understand and accept now Gareth - that the measures you refer to - were not introduced into legislation as a result of this Act?

If you finally do understand this - perhaps you would be kind and gracious enough to simply say so here - in plain words?

I may go on to address the points about how we come to terms with the Act - but there is little point in that if as a starting point- we do not understand what is in it - or what is NOT. Especially as some of us - like Gareth (and for reasons best known to him), seem determined to continue to try and mislead others, as to what the Act contains.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 08:00 AM

Shambles - Suggest you address the question.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 02:00 PM

Despite your waffle - do you understand and accept now Gareth - that the measures you refer to - were not introduced into legislation as a result of this Act?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 02:08 PM

Shambles - Suggest you address the question

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jul 03 - 02:42 PM

Gareth - I don't really see that if your position, (and the standing of the Labour Party), is to have any respectabilty at all - that you could have ignored my post (as many Labour MPs have just ignored many letters to them and just as many plain facts).


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 04:33 AM

Gareth accused Roger. Gareth said that the powers of confiscation (etc) were introduced by the Licensing Act. That was simply wrong of Gareth, and I suggest as a responsible chap he should apologise. Roger gets a little het up at times and occasionaly misses the point, but don't we all? The central point is that the Act requires a licence for (amongst other things) any music in public, in regulated clubs, or for consideration and with a view to profit, unless there is an exemption that covers it. This is very plainly overregulation in principle.

Spontaneous music is not exempt unless it falls outside the definitions of regulated entertainment. Of course it may occur in such a way that it is within an exempiton but it is not exempt as such.

The same (John) applies to recorded music. Usually it will be argued that recorded music is "incidental". This will usually be so of jukeboxes, and there is no automatic control of volume (or electrical safety) under this act. However it may be the case that the courts will be able to take account of the loudness of music in deciding whether it was "incidental" (and so exempt), but it is odd that I suggested a partial defintion of "incidental" to help clarify this and other issues such as advertising and regularity (silly question, if the fact that a folk session takes place every week means it is not incidental, as Howells said, can it be argued that the fact that a jukebox is on every night makes it not incidental?)

The next draft of the guidance is I think out tomorrow. I will be aiming to have a look at it. I think it is very important to make it clear that conditions imposed because of the intention to provide regulated entertainment shoudl be so worded that they are conditions of the lawfulness of the entertainment, not conditions of the licence as such. That way, if the local authority says "oh dear, music, double glazing to keep the noise in" then if the landlord does not want to provide non-exempt amplified music, he can carry on as before, and if he provides unamplified music he can rely on the statutory disapplication of the condition.

The worry is that local authorities will make the double glazing a condition of the licence as such - so it would have to be paid for even though it was not needed for acoustic music.


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 05:18 AM

If licenses fees are capped at a rate that means they will not be a "Cash Cow" what is going to be the main incentive for LAs to push for expensive modifications or to oppose licenses ?

I gather that the new licence carge will be a one-off fee. Will it automatically transfer to the new owner when a pub changes hands ?

Does it seem likely that there will be a cap on on the fee charged for varying a license, ie making a later application for entertainment ?


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Subject: RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ?
From: Gareth
Date: 21 Jul 03 - 05:56 AM

Richard, some sanity, and thanks> I thought I made it clear that the existing powers were not enforced as this power of confiscation was down to the Enviromental Officers, not Police, and any action fell within Council policy/discretion.

I thought I also made it clear that because of the sheer convolution and difficulties the existing powers of closure by the police were not used. To give an example after discussions with the local senior officer he pointed out that to have sufficient Plods to turnover a local drinking club and alledged "public nusience" on a Friday/Saturday night he would have to strip/ request officers from as far away as Newport, Pontypool and Ebbw Vale - and all stations in between. Not good news, and he would only get thay authority for a major drugs bust, which is not the problem. He welcoms the Act.

If I have read this correctly this Act simplifys these powers. If I have inadvertantly mislead any body then I appologise.

Dave's original point, how do we utilise the Act to best advantage is a valid one.

Capping fees, and determining fees on a sliding scale on size, and ensuring that the paperwork is simplified would appear to me to be the best way forward. Work with local LVA to encourage licencees to apply.

I think that you (Richard) as a practicing Solicitor will appreciate that in the "Blame Culture" Society we seem to be heading into, no local authority dare ingnore safty considerations, due dilligence comes to mind.

And just to cao it all - I was reading the local rag on Saturday, a large advert pimpimg for trade from a well known firm of South Wales ambulance chasers, of no high repute in the insurance trade. Includd the line " Have you had an accident in..... a pub or club "

Gareth


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