Alcohol and entertainment licensing policy statement
1. Part A - introduction to this policy
1.1 We have actively considered the needs of blind and partially sighted people in accessing this document. We will make this document available in full on our website and you may download and translate into other accessible formats. If you have other needs in this regard, please contact the licensing service on [licensing email].
1.2 While every effort has been made to avoid the over use of technical terms, this is not always possible. Appendix 1 contains a list of definitions which may be of help in explaining some of the key words and phrases used in this document.
1.3 Buckinghamshire Council came into effect on 1 April 2020, bringing together the former Buckinghamshire County Council, and the four District Councils of Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe. The county has a population of over 540,000 residents and includes the towns of Buckingham, Winslow, Aylesbury, Wendover, Princess Risborough, Chesham, Amersham, High Wycombe, Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross. The county has a significant amount of rural space with over a quarter of the county within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Beauty and a further third is covered by the Metropolitan Green Belt.
1.4 An interactive map showing the Council’s area, including Ward boundaries is available on the Council’s website.
The role of this policy
1.5 Buckinghamshire Council aims to make Buckinghamshire the best place to live, raise a family, work and do business. The Council wants the county to be a place where everyone can be proud of, with excellent services, thriving businesses, and outstanding public space for everyone. A place where residents, regardless of background, have access to great opportunities, living healthy, successful lives and ageing well with independence. These ambitions are summarised in The Council’s key priorities:
- strengthening our communities
- improving our environment
- protecting the vulnerable
- increasing prosperity
1.6 Licensing has a crucial role to play in achieving these goals, through the formulation of policy, decision-making, promotion of best practice and enforcement activities.
1.7 Licensing is concerned with promotion of the licensing objectives:
- The prevention of crime and disorder;
- Public safety;
- The prevention of public nuisance; and
- The protection of children from harm.
1.8 The Council, in its role as Licensing Authority, must ensure that when it carries out licensing functions that is does so with a view to promoting the licensing objectives. This Policy explains how the Licensing Authority plans to do this.
1.9 The Policy seeks to balance the interests of business and residents to make sure that Buckinghamshire Council continues to offer a wide choice of high quality and well managed entertainment and cultural venues within an environment that is safe and attractive to residents, business and visitors.
1.10 This is Buckinghamshire Council’s first published licensing policy statement under the Licensing Act 2003. This Policy replaces the licensing policies adopted by the previous District Councils of Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern ,South Bucks and Wycombe.
1.11 In preparing this new Policy the Licensing Authority has drawn on the experience of the previous councils in administering the licensing system under the Licensing Act 2003. It has also taken into account the latest National Guidance, guidance from the Local Government Association, case law, best practice and the views of a wide range of stakeholders.
1.12 The Licensing Authority has consulted widely in the formulation of this Policy, including the following:
- Thames Valley Police
- Police and Crime Commissioner
- Fire and Rescue Authority
- Licensees of premises holding a Premises Licence for Alcohol, Entertainment or Late Night Refreshment
- Club premises certificate holders.
- Licensing Committee
- Ward Councillors
- Town Councils and Parish Councils
- Local residents and businesses
- Buckinghamshire’s Safeguarding Children Partnership
- The Local Health and Safety Enforcing Authority
- The Local Planning Authority
- The Director of Public Health.
- The Local Environmental Health Authority
- The Local Trading Standards Authority
- Community Safety Partnership
- Buckinghamshire Council Highways
- South Central Ambulance Services
- Aylesbury Town Centre management
- Wycombe BID
1.13 In accordance with the Licensing Act the Policy will be kept under review and revisions made, if necessary, before a new policy is determined in five years time.
Using the Policy
1.14 This Policy relates to the following licensable activities under the Licensing Act 2003:
- The sale of alcohol by retail.
- The supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club to, or to the order of, a member of the club.
- The provision of regulated entertainment to the public or to club members or for consideration and with a view to profit.
- The provision of late night refreshment.
1.15 This Policy explains how the Council intends to regulate licensable activities when carrying out its licensing functions. It also sets out the authority’s expectations of those responsible for carrying out licensable activities. Specific areas of concern are highlighted within the Policy together with proposed risk reduction measures. The successful provision of licensable activities and the promotion of the licensing objectives in Buckinghamshire is dependent on all those involved in the licensing process to have regard to this Policy:
a) Applicants are expected to read this policy before making applications for new licences or variations and to tailor their applications to promote the licensing objectives.
b) Local residents will benefit from reading this policy when deciding whether to make a representation to licence applications or apply for a formal review of an existing licence. The Policy will help when deciding whether to object to an entire application or certain aspects such as proposed times or whether the proposed conditions are adequate. The Council maintains a public register on its website where details of all new and variation applications can be found.
c) Responsible authorities will be expected to refer to the Policy and give careful consideration to any application which departs from its terms. This applies in particular to the Licensing Authority itself, which is a responsible authority under the Licensing Act 2003.
d) Local councillors, who are able to make representations as other members of the public. Local councillors may also be asked by local residents and licence holders to help with making representations and applications.
e) The Licensing Committee and Sub-Committee will use the policy when deciding applications for new licences, variations and reviews.
f) The Magistrates’ Court, when deciding appeals, ‘must stand in the shoes’ of the Licensing Authority when applying the Policy.
1.16 The successful application of the Policy by all those involved in the licensing process plays a key role in achieving consistency in decision-making and ensuring that all applications are decided in a way which effectively promotes the licensing objectives.
1.17 Nothing in this Policy prevents any party from making an application and having it determined on its merits. Nor does the Policy prevent any party who is entitled to make representations from doing so, whether such representations are based on the Policy or some other matter relevant to the promotion of the licensing objectives. Furthermore, when it is asked to do so, the Licensing Authority will always decide whether it is appropriate to make a departure from the Policy and will always give reasons for doing so. However, the Policy will always play a key role in decision-making where the Licensing Authority has a discretion.
1.18 Some of the principles in this document are intended to be strictly applied because of the importance of the policy in question to the promotion of the licensing objectives locally. While, even in these cases, the Licensing Authority will consider whether it is appropriate to depart from the Policy, it is unlikely to do so except in truly exceptional cases where the applicant can show that the objectives of the Policy can be met by other means.