12ConditionsConditions. It's a word likely to send a shiver

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Related tags: Local authority, Local government

Middlesbrough Council charged a pub operator a £4,000 nuisance tax last month for planning consent to open a pub on the high street. Stumping up the...

Middlesbrough Council charged a pub operator a £4,000 nuisance tax last month for planning consent to open a pub on the high street. Stumping up the cash was a kind of pre-condition to opening. Local authorities love to set conditions. Up to now, the industry has experience of planning conditions and PEL conditions. And once these conditions are set, no-one polices a condition quite so enthusiastically as a local authority. Or can detect when more conditions are needed. Wolverhampton & Dudley was fined thousands of pounds last month after Westminster City Council discovered flagrant, full-blown hip-wiggling to music ­ in breach of its operating conditions ­ at two Pitcher & Pianos. Another operator was in court this year after a local authority EHO judged its music to be too loud. The pub had been given no maximum decibel level and the conviction rested on the wholly subjective judgement of the council official. The point is, of course, that these are the people who are about to get their hands on all the knobs and levers of licensing. The Government seems to believe local authorities will act in a broadly neutral way, unswayed by the vociferous politicking of their electorate. Many believe there is a danger of a local authority condition-fest post-reform with the operators trussed up like Christmas turkeys with conditions. How much more meddlesome red tape and bureaucratic flummery will the combined talents of part-time politicians and their pen-pushers produce in 18 months' time? Only time will tell. PC

Related topics: Legislation

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