Licensing study: the conclusions

By Jonathan Smith

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Licensing authorities Policy Alcoholic beverage Lnl

Licensing study: the conclusions
There were some interesting conclusions from Poppleston Allen’s late-night licensing survey, which you may have seen published recently. Between August and November 2011 we contacted, by telephone, 99% of all the licensing authorities in England and Wales to garner their views on cumulative-impact policies (CIPs), the late-night levy (LNL) and early-morning restriction orders (EMROs).

With the results of the Home Office’s recently-issued consultation on the LNL and EMROs not due until after April, the survey is a useful weather vane for initial feelings towards these powerful licensing tools.

These are some of the key findings from our research:

  • A total of 93 licensing authorities have now adopted at least one CIP in their area, an increase of 12% since 1 April 2010.
  • Eleven have adopted a CIP for the first time.
  • Only one licensing authority has removed its CIP.

This shows an undeniable (albeit gradual) trend that, where CIPs are in place, they tend to stay, and indeed increase. In total, there are 158 designated cumulative impact areas in England and Wales (in other words, some licensing authorities have more than one), a rise of nearly 18% from April 2010.  

Twenty-five entirely new areas around the country have now been labelled cumulative impact areas (CIAs). The figures show a concentration of 40 such areas in Greater London — 25% of the total number of CIAs in the country.

What particularly interested me, however, was the so called “tightening” of CIPs.  

Nearly 20% of existing policies had been tightened and now include off-licensed premises.

Others include late-night restaurants and takeaways — no longer is it the late-night pub or nightclub alone that needs to worry about extending its hours, or finding a new site in a saturation zone.

The move to include off-licences and late-night takeaways is welcome. It shows that some licensing authorities acknowledge that problems arising from alcohol consumption do not begin and end in the bar of your local pub — but that is still a long way from acknowledging that a well-run pub can make a positive contribution to even the busiest of high streets.

More welcome views came from responses on the proposed LNL. Some licensing authorities described it to us as “overly bureaucratic and not justified, fair or proportionate”.

Fewer than 10% of authorities said that they were likely to implement the LNL — nearly 40% said they were unlikely to.

And you can see why, when 70% of the LNL must go to the police, which can spend it on whatever it likes, and not necessarily licensing. One council licensing officer stated that the levy would “kill the late-night economy”.

Similar views were expressed about EMROs, which would allow councils effectively to close any premises after midnight.

Fewer than 5% of authorities said they were likely to implement EMROs, although more than half had not yet considered them at all.

Several authorities thought EMROs were reminiscent of the old alcohol disorder zones, and didn’t want a local area labelled as a tourist
no-go zone.

These are early days, and our conversations with authorities since the survey have suggested more are considering adopting these power-ful tools. But don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion — not every council sees charging a fee or closing premises after midnight as the cure for all evils.

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