Publican slams council over 'unlawful' licensing errors

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Law

Brent Council 'unlawfully' modified the closing hours of the TENs
Brent Council 'unlawfully' modified the closing hours of the TENs
A north London licensee has hit out at basic licensing errors made by his local council that sought to unlawfully restrict his trading hours over the festive period.

The licensee of Peaches Bar & Restaurant in Harrow, who has asked to remain anonymous, applied for Temporary Event Notices (TENs) across four weekends in December 2014 after he lost his late licence following a review last year.

However, he said Brent Council modified the closing hours of the TENs from 3am to 1.30am during the licensing hearing, following an objection from police, and altered the last entry condition from midnight to 11pm, meaning it was different from the condition on his premises licence.

He said both these changes are unlawful under the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Act, which came into force in April 2012.

'Bending the rules'

“It means Brent Council has potentially been breaking the Licensing Act for more than 30 months,” he said. “They have been bending the rules as they see fit.”

A solicitor for legal firm Compliance Direct, who acted on behalf of the bar at the hearing and also wishes to be unnamed, said TENs can only be modified if there is an agreement between the person making the objection and the premises holder, which had not happened here, and TENs conditions cannot be different  from those on a premises licence.

The firm is waiting to hear how the local authority plans to compensate operators who have been subject to licensing decisions underincorrect legal guidance since 2012.

'Serious breach'

“Nearly two-and-a-half years have passed since the reform. How can they still not know the law?” he said.

“The other thing that was a serious breach of fair process was that the licensing authority officer decided to cross-examine Peaches Bar and introduce new allegations with no prior notice  — and was then part of the decision making.”

David Thrale, head of regulatory services at Brent Council, admitted that the authority “misinterpreted the guidance on this occasion”.

He added: “The council has confirmed that the TENs submitted will stand and has apologised for the error and misinterpretation of the statutory provisions and guidance.”

Related topics Licensing law Other operators

Related news

Show more