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Licensing Act 2003: A step by step guide for residents of City of Westminster

The Guidance to Licensing Act 2003 (“the Act”) issued by the Government under s182 of the Act states that one of the key aims and purposes of the Act is ‘encouraging greater community involvement in licensing decisions and giving local residents the opportunity to have their say regarding licensing decisions that may affect them.’

The Licensing Advice Project (LAP) is funded by Westminster City Council and can provide case-specific advice, information and representation to residents of Westminster at any or all of the stages of the licensing decision-making process.

Below is a handy quick reference guide for residents of Westminster to the rights and responsibilities of residents under the Licensing Act 2003 regime.

Please note that this guide is necessarily general in nature and reflects law and practice as at March 2018. Please also note that some of the information may be specific to practice/procedure in Westminster and may not be applicable in other licensing authority areas.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries at any stage of the process.

1. I have become aware of a licensing application.

2. How can I find out more about an application?

There is a wide variety of applications which are made. No two applications are exactly the same, and it is important to find out precisely what an application seeks before deciding whether to respond to it.

3. I think the application will have an effect on me. What should I do?

4. How do I make my views known?

Certain parts of the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy and the s.182 Guidance to the Act may assist in assuring that your representation is as effective as possible.

5. I have my representation. Where do I send it?

Representations must be received by the Council within 28 days beginning on the day after a valid application is received by the Council.

A representation can be made in the following ways:

Additionally, all comments submitted and not withdrawn, will form part of the Licensing Sub-Committee report which is a public document.

We would advise submitting an objection either via Public Access or email .

6. After making a representation you may be contacted by the Council notifying you of amendments to the application.

The Licensing Act 2003 envisages a partnership approach whereby there is scope for a useful dialogue between parties prior to any hearing to see if any matters can be resolved. This ensures that the hearing is as a streamlined as possible and focuses only on matters still in dispute.

7. I have received a letter from the Council notifying me of a hearing date.

8. I have told the Council that I want to attend the hearing, and they have sent me a bundle of papers.

9. I have read the Report and would like to attend the hearing. Do I need to be represented?

10. What format do the hearings take?

11. How will I know what has been decided?

12. The application was granted, and I am not happy with the decision. Can I appeal?

In addition, there is a remedy for residents where an application is granted and the feared problems do in fact arise. Residents have the right to apply to the Council to review a premises licence . We can advise you on this if necessary.

13. The application was turned down, but I have heard that the Applicant has appealed. Do I need to do anything?

14. I would like to keep up to date with what is happening in my area with licence applications.

The Council produces a weekly bulletin called ‘Licensing News’, which details all applications pending in the consultation period i.e. those applications for which representations can still be accepted. You can ask to be put on the mailing list by emailing licensing@westminster.gov.uk

Additionally, Public Access on the Council’s website enables you to receive email alerts on properties or streets you are interested in. You will need to register. There is a useful document on the Council’s website to guide you through the process, or you can email the Council if you are having difficulties. You can also contact us for help if you wish.

Once you have registered, you can also track an application on which you have made a representation, and you will be updated when the status of the application changes.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries about these type of premises.