Pulling together for charity - despite EHO objections

By Jonathan Smith

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Premises licence Patent Eho

Smith: "The environmental health officer did not wish to engage in any discussion"
Smith: "The environmental health officer did not wish to engage in any discussion"
We live in a world that is changing continuously; people have less time and more commitments and not necessarily to each other. I have a great deal of admiration for people who put themselves out on a limb to help others and recently have been reminded once again that there is good in most of us, writes Jonathan Smith.

A client called me recently wanting to know about how to run an event to raise money for a well-known forces charity. He advised that over the years the community he represents has raised thousands of pounds for different charities, but the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a very serious toll on youngsters who have bravely taken the Queen’s shilling — in some cases to get out of the unemployment and desperate times being experienced in his community.

He proposed a concert over a weekend for local people. He knew he would get support not only from the community but contacts within the music industry, which meant that bands would provide their services free of charge in backing the fund-raising initiative.

He had plenty of room beside the licensed premises he operates, but no licence to be able to offer the concert to the public, and because of the anticipated numbers a temporary event notice could not be used.

There was no alternative but to issue a premises licence application to cover the field beside his business, which is currently used for matches during the football season and also other community-focused events.


A hastily prepared operating schedule was developed to accompany the premises licence application, covering some of the obvious issues in staging the event. Talks with the local police were extremely positive; they provided suggestions and advice as well as some very well thought out conditions, which could be added to the application to satisfy their concerns and garner their unqualified support.

Strangely, the environmental health officer (EHO) did not wish to engage in any discussion; however, undeterred, the application was submitted. The time scales were tight and the licensing authority advised that it would expedite a committee hearing should any representations be received.

The lack of communication with the EHO soon became understandable with a flat opposition to the application and refusal to discuss any measures for noise control, or positive suggestions relating to the staging of the event. Calculations were produced to demonstrate and support his opposition to the application based on predicted noise levels and the potential for noise nuisance.

Further attempts at mediation and resolution of the EHO’s concerns proved fruitless — he had adopted a resolute and entrenched position by now, not only to oppose the application but to persuade the licensing sub-committee to do the same.

This, to an application for a premises licence to cover an area away from houses close to the premises and with a single-figure limit on its uses per year.

The licensing committee, having heard from one unhappy resident and the flat refusal of the EHO to countenance anything but outright rejection — even with conditions — nevertheless determined to grant the application.

No credible evidence was presented to support the assertions made by the EHO in respect of either the premises and its inability to manage noise, or indeed that the noise would amount to a nuisance.


We all hear noise that may be intrusive (for example, fireworks on or around 5 November), but that does not mean it automatically amounts to a nuisance.

Despite the assistance of the licensing authority and its speedy action in assembling a committee, the grant of the premises licence left only nine days to confirm to the bands and the community that the concert was going ahead. Local construction companies donated fencing, door companies donated doorstaff, and bands donated their time, all to ensure the success of the concert and to maximise the proceeds raised for the services charity.

The concert went ahead and was very successful; the resident who complained went away for the weekend. And what of the EHO?

My client monitored noise at the noise-sensitive points he had identified. While monitoring he was aware that the EHO was doing the same. The officer did not introduce himself and eventually my client approached him and asked whether there were any problems, to which the EHO responded that there were not!

Next year, I am advised that the same community will call upon the same people to provide the same facilities for a concert to support our armed forces. They believe that the support will be much better next year, with a longer period to plan the event and make everyone aware.

Oh, and by the way £4,000 was raised; congratulations to all those people involved.

Jonathan Smith is managing partner at Poppleston Allen

Related topics Licensing law

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