Headlines: November 9th, 2007

Figures submitted by local authorities and released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Indicate that local people and the police are making use of new powers to ask for reviews of licensed premises, according to the Department. The evidence comes from returns from 86 per cent of local councils that show there were 176,400 licensed premises in England and Wales at the end of March.

Licensing laws, which came into effect in November 2005, allowed local people to have a say in licensing decisions that affected them. Under the changes residents and police can, for example, object to a new licence application or raise an objection at any time if they feel a bar is causing a nuisance.

The figures show that in the year to the end of March 670 licence reviews were carried out leading to 90 licenses being revoked, 91 being suspended for up to three months, 110 premises having to change their opening hours and 390 having other conditions placed on their licences.

Licensing Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said the statistics, the first since the new Act, put an end to the theory that the law was all about 24- hour drinking. Less than a third of premises were licensed to sell alcohol round-the-clock, he said, and two thirds of those were hotels, which were always able to serve their guests for 24 hours a day. “Only around one per cent of premises have 24 hour licences to sell alcohol to the public and many only open longer hours on special occasions,” he said, adding, “It’s not about how many premises there are, it’s about how responsible they are.”