Licence fee hike part of government's Act 'overhaul'

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Temporary event notices Alcohol disorder zones License

Plans to hike licence fees, clampdown on Temporary Event Notices (TENs) and scrap Alcohol Disorder Zones (ADZs) are included in the coalition's bid...

Plans to hike licence fees, clampdown on Temporary Event Notices (TENs) and scrap Alcohol Disorder Zones (ADZs) are included in the coalition's bid to tear-up the licensing regime.

Full details of the Home Office consultation have been unveiled today (see pdf file on the right) - and appear to go well beyond what the government had previously announced.

Licence fees will be increased, the plans say, so councils can "cover costs linked to enforcement, leaving premises to pay rather than the local taxpayer" and adds that an increase is "long overdue".

As expected, a fee for a late-night licence, for venues open after midnight, will be introduced, which will replace Labour's failed ADZs.

However, the plans also suggest a health objective could be written into the Licensing Act.

Public health and policing "concerns" should be "taken into account when assessing licence applications", the proposals say. It could mean local "health bodies" become a responsible authority under the Licensing Act, giving them the power to obejct to new of current licences.

Meanwhile, in its bid to crackdown on problem venues, the Home Office said orders that see pubs shut on a voluntary basis could be stretched to seven days - with venues then facing an automatic licence review.

On TENs, the rules will be "tightened up" to limit the number that can be applied for in a year, even though there is already a limit of 12 that can be issued.

And communities are also being promised a bigger say on licensing issues, with councils being encouraged to "consider the views of the wider community, not just those living close to premises".

One definite positive is confirmation of a plan to ban below-cost selling in the off-trade, but this remains fraught with difficulties.

Home Secretary Theresa May, who is due to give a major speech on anti-social behaviour today, said: "The benefits promised by the 24 hour drinking 'café culture' have failed to materialise and in its place we have seen an increase in the number of alcohol-related incidents and drink-fuelled crime and disorder.

"We know that the majority of pubs and bars are well run business but the government believes that the system needs to be rebalanced in favour of the local communities they serve with tougher action taken to crack down on the small number of premises who cause problems."

A six-week consultation will now take place on the plans, with the measures due to start their journey in Parliament in October and set to become law by November 2011.

Related topics Licensing law

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more