Pubs, Clubs and Entertainment
Licensed premises covered by the Licensing Act 2003 (those offering alcohol and/or entertainment) are required to promote specific licensing objectives; one of which refers to the prevention of public nuisance. Generally speaking public nuisance is regarded as something that affects a community; whereas statutory nuisance may exist even if it only affects one person.
The licensing regime enables interested parties to intervene in a range of proposed activities before they commence in order to prevent public nuisance. It also allows for an intervention when a regulated activity causes public nuisance. It can therefore provide a useful tool in controlling noise.
The licensing process involves the operator applying for permission to operate within certain parameters from the local Licensing Authority. Before doing so they outline how they intend to promote the prevention of public nuisance in the form of an operating schedule. This will detail their proposed activities and at what times they intend carrying them out. Interested parties (generally anyone likely to be affected by the proposal) may object (or “make a representation”). Responsible Authorities such as Environmental Health may also make a representation.
Where representations are made the licensing committee holds a hearing to determine the application. If representations are not made the application is granted as applied for. The process also applies to significant variations to an existing operation.
Interested parties and Responsible Authorities may also call for a “review” of an existing premises licence if one of the objectives of the Licensing Act 2003 are not being met. Again a hearing is held to determine the validity of the case put by the objector. The Committee have a wide range of powers to change, remove or revoke licensing permissions.
Decisions at all hearings should be made on the basis of evidence. Any frivolous, vexatious or repetitious representations (or reviews) should be rejected by the Licensing Authority.
If you are considering calling for a review because of noise pollution you are advised to contact your environmental health service and consider applying the statutory nuisance procedures first. Licensing is a complex area but we have some more detail on the subject in our Licensing section.