Welcome to the Licensing Advice Project at Citizens Advice Westminster
The Licensing Advice Project (LAP) provides a free, independent, impartial and confidential information, advice and representation service to residents, residents’ groups and businesses in Westminster on their rights and responsibilities as ‘interested parties’ relating to Licensing Act 2003 and related legislation; Gambling Act 2005; and Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1985.
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Licensing Act 2003
Licensing Act 2003 requires premises intending to sell/supply alcohol by retail, provide late night refreshment or provide regulated entertainment to apply for a premises licence. Premises which already hold a premises licence such as bars, restaurant, nightclubs and pubs can also apply to open later or to change conditions on their licence.
Local residents are able to make relevant representations in respect of these applications. A representation must relate to the likely impact of the application on the promotion of the licensing objectives, which are: prevention of public nuisance, prevention of crime and disorder, public safety and protection of children from harm. The Act requires the licensing authority to exercise its licensing functions with a view to promoting the licensing objectives.
Residents can also apply to “review”:https://www.licensingadvice.org/jargon an existing licence if it is causing problems connected to the licensing objectives. This includes problems with noise, nuisance, crime and disorder and a range of other problems.
Gambling Act 2005
The Gambling Act covers applications involving betting shops, and requires licensing authorities to ‘aim to permit’ gambling, subject to a number of factors. There are two main types of betting shop application: for a new betting shop, or an extension of hours for an existing betting shop. Different factors apply to each and the requirements of the Act for residents to be able to make effective representations are notably different to those of Licensing Act 2003.
There is also a right of review under Gambling Act 2005, but again the requirements are different to those in Licensing Act 2003.
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982
This Act (as amended by Policing and Crime Act 2010) categorises lap-dancing and similar premises as sexual entertainment venues (SEVs). When the amendments to the Act came in to force in it required each premises providing relevant entertainment to reapply for an SEV licence, unless they were exempt under the Act. Any other premises is free to apply for an SEV licence.
SEV licences must be renewed each year by application to the City Council.
Residents may object to application for a new SEV licence, for a variation of an SEV licence or for the renewal of an SEV licence.
Relevant grounds for objection under the Act are different to those for the alcohol/entertainment licensing and gambling licensing regimes.