Westminster council hits out at 'heavy-handed' PEL criticism

Related tags Westminster city council City of westminster West end of london City of london

Westminster City Council has hit back at claims that it is being "heavy-handed" in its enforcement of entertainment licensing.Licensees and pub...

Westminster City Council has hit back at claims that it is being "heavy-handed" in its enforcement of entertainment licensing.

Licensees and pub operators had complained that enforcement officers were visiting their premises and warning them against playing music that was encouraging people to dance because it was either "too loud" or the "wrong type of music".

But this week, in a letter to thePublican.com, councillor Angela Hooper, who heads the council's licensing committee, hit back at the trade's criticism.

She said: "I make no apology for the fact that we will continue to enforce the law against those poorly run establishments which do not abide by the rules, or do not obtain the appropriate licence in the first place."

Industry leaders also said they were concerned that Westminster's heavy-handed approach to the entertainment licensing system could be repeated across the country if local authorities were given responsibility for licensing under plans for reform.

There has been criticism of its policy to limit the number of late-night public entertainment licences (PELs) operating in the area.

But Ms Hooper said: "If and when the government decides that we should take over responsibility for licensing, I can assure your readers that we will monitor and if necessary enforce those licences in a professional manner. People should feel that when they go out to enjoy themselves they can do so and feel safe."

She added: "It is simply not true that Westminster is determined to stem progress and business in the West End. From June 20, 2000 to April 8, 2002 a total of 22 new PELs have been granted in the West End, a statistic that does not indicate 'heavy-handedness'."

Related stories:

Westminster Council PEL action 'heavy-handed' (25 April 2002)

Related topics Legislation

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