CIZ (also known as special policy areas or stress areas) generally means any new premises licence or material variation that attracts an objection will be presumed refused, unless the operator can show that their proposal will not increase existing crime and nuisance issues in the area.
The UK’s nightlife, its restaurants, bars and clubs shouldn’t be seen as a problem. They are an essential part of this country’s appeal and worth £66bn to the economy, providing jobs for more than 1.3m people.
CIZs have in fact stifled the UK’s once-vibrant night-time economy and some good operators have opted to invest in local authority areas that actively encourage partnership and support to well-managed licensed premises.
The use of CIZs by many London authorities conflicts with the Lord Mayor’s promotion of a ‘vibrant and highly successful late-night economy of clubs, bars and music venues’.
For the above reasons, it is important that operators make an informed decision before they commit themselves to a new venture or extended hours in the night-time economy.
Here are a few tips that should be considered:
- Check whether your proposed site is in a cumulative impact zone (CIZ) – look at the council’s statement of licensing policy and if unsure clarify with the licensing officer
- Ensure that your licensing lawyer conducts a due diligence check on the location and all licences
- Consider any planning restrictions that could affect trade
- Conduct a site visit, especially during the hours you wish to trade to understand any potential issues
- If a premises in a CIZ already has a premise licence, this is valuable, so get advice on how to protect it
- If there is not an existing licence and your premises is in a CIZ, you should explore the possibilities of a contract conditional on the premises licence being granted – again seek advice
- Prior investigations can help you to avoid unnecessary expenditure or alternatively, allow you to adopt the right approach and have a chance of being successful in a CIZ area.