The Licensing Act 2003
The Licensing Act 2003 (the ‘Act’) was introduced to serve as a more flexible replacement system for the issuing of licensable activities. These activities include:
- the retail sale and supply of alcohol
- the supply of alcohol for - or on behalf of - clubs
- regulated entertainment
- the provision of late-night refreshment
The Act transferred licensing issuing powers to local authorities. Prior to the Act, relevant licences were issued via the magistrates’ court.
As well as giving local authorities new licensing powers, the Act also provided members of the public with the opportunity to comment on licensing applications. This means that anyone can make a comment.
Making a comment is also referred to as ‘making a representation’. Comments can be in favour of, or in objection to, licensing applications.
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils - as the two respective Licensing Authorities - recognise that balancing the interests of those listed below will not always be straightforward:
- owners and employees of licensable premises, as well as
- responsible authorities
- anyone else – you do not have to live or work near the premises to make a comment
Licensing decisions are always guided by the four objectives of the Act - all of which are of equal weight. They are:
- the prevention of crime and disorder
- the prevention of public nuisance
- public safety
- the protection of children from harm
Any comments made about a licensing application must relate to at least one of the four objectives, with reference to the licensable activities at the premises.