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Draft Statement of Licensing Policy 2023-2028

Have your say

Consultation status Results published
Start date: 2023-07-12
End date: 2023-09-20
Results 2023-11-30
Category:
Ward:

Activity closed. Results published.

Background

Under the Licensing Act 2003, West Berkshire Council, along with all licensing authorities, must prepare, adopt and publish a Statement of Licensing Policy (SOLP), every five years or when the council believes the policy requires updating, and Icon for pdf our current SOLP [349KB] is due to expire at the end of December 2024.

Our statement sets out how we will determine applications, and applies to any premises which sells or provides alcohol, provides regulated entertainment (for example a performance in front of an audience), or late night refreshment (i.e. provision of hot food between 23h00 and 05h00) within West Berkshire. Businesses and individuals who want to carry out these licensable activities have to apply via the Public Protection Partnership for a permission to do so.


How we developed our draft policy

The Icon for pdf current SOLP [349KB]  was adopted after we consulted local licence holders, Thames Valley Police, the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, national bodies that represent the trade, district and parish councillors, residents and colleagues across the Council including Legal Services, Planning, Environment Health, Trading Standards and Public Health.

In developing the SOLP, we've considered national and local policies and strategies, including the Licensing Act 2003, the Section 182 Guidance issued by the Secretary of State in December 2022, the Equalities Act 2010, the Licensing Act 2003 (hearings) Regulations 2005, Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 2017 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

We've also viewed it in the context of the Council's Strategy, which seeks to make West Berkshire a great place to live, learn and do business, and the Public Protection Partnerships vision which is to protect and support residents and legitimate businesses through the successful use of information and intelligence, delivering safe and healthy neighbourhoods.

Through the process of developing the SOLP, we aim to facilitate a healthy economy that feels both safe and supported and provides opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy a broad range of activities while improving the quality of life of residents and increases the attractiveness of the area to visitors.

The main purpose of this policy is to provide clarity to applicants, responsible authorities, elected Members and other persons on how the Council will determine applications made under the Act. It will also inform elected Members of the parameters within which licensing decisions can be made.


What we are proposing

Icon for pdf Our draft SOLP [421KB] sets out the rules we will consider when granting and enforcing licences, and lets businesses know how we expect them to operate. It also informs our decisions at any Licensing Committees or Sub-Committees when deciding whether to issue, amend or revoke licences.

The core aim of our policy is to promote the four licensing objectives, as set out in the Licensing Act 2003. These are as follows:

  • Prevention of crime and disorder
  • Public safety
  • Prevention of public nuisance
  • Protection of children from harm

Our draft SOLP has been updated to reflect recent changes to the law and updated guidance on licensing. The key changes relate to:

  • Agent of Change Principles
  • Amendments to Temporary Event Notices in line with legislative changes
  • Reference to current initiatives/ campaigns to safeguard customers in licensed premises
  • Updated delegations as agreed by the Committee on 8 November 2021

Why we want your views

We'd like your views on our draft SOLP, in particular if it is clear, easy to understand, promotes the four objectives of the Licensing Act 2003 and is relevant to West Berkshire. We also want to know if you think that we're planning on taking the right action, and if there is anything we've missed. Our draft SOLP potentially effects everyone who operates a licensed premises, residents, other businesses and public authorities in our district, we therefore want to make sure that the widest possible number of people are able to comment before it is finalised.


How to take part

If you'd like to comment on Icon for pdf our draft SOLP [421KB] , please complete our survey by midnight on Wednesday, 20 September 2023. It should take about fifteen minutes.

If you have any questions about the consultation, please email PPPConsultations@westberks.gov.uk

For general enquiries about Licensing, please visit our webpage


What happens next

Following the consultation, a summary of the responses received will be provided to the Licensing Committee on Monday, 6 November 2023, with a final version of the policy being considered by elected Members at the Full Council meeting on Thursday, 30 November 2023.

Once our SOLP has been approved it will be published on our Strategies, Policies and Plans webpage.

What you told us

We received 47 responses to the consultation. Of those responses 44 were submitted online and three were sent directly to officers. Twenty responses were submitted by residents, seven by premise licence holders, six from parish or town councils, four from officers or departments within the Council, two from Statement of Licensing Policy – Review and Consultation West Berkshire Council Council 30 November 2023 businesses, two from Thames Valley Police, one each from a personal licence holder, the owner of a premise licence, a District Councillor, a member of the general public, a community group and operators of a village hall. 


A summary of the consultation responses is set out in Appendix B of the report submitted to the Full Council meeting. Of those that responded: 

  • 71.5% agreed that the draft policy was easy to understand
  • 60% believed the draft policy promoted the prevention of crime and disorder
  • 64% agreed that the policy promoted public safety
  • 67% concurred that the policy promoted the prevention of public nuisance
  • 70% acquiesced that the draft policy protected children from harm

Officers would like to thank all those that took the time to respond. 

What we did

At the Full Council meeting on Thursday 30 November 2023 the policy was adopted, subject to any additional modifications identified at the meeting. The revised policy be published and come into effect on 1 December 2023.


You can find the agenda papers and minutes here and the updated policy here.

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