Licensing

The Licensing Act regulates four activities: the sale of alcohol; the supply of alcohol, (for example, in a members’ club); regulated entertainment, such as live performances and; the provision of hot food or drink to the public after 11pm.
This Act aims to prevent crime and disorder and public nuisance and protect children and the wider public from harm.

The Government remains committed to tackling alcohol-related crime & anti-social behaviour. We are currently bringing forward proposals in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill to rebalance the Licensing Act so that local communities and the police can address problems effectively, particularly late at night. Aside from the reforms set out in the Bill, we welcome your comments on any other aspects of the Licensing Act which could be made less burdensome.

You can find all the regulations that relate to licensing below to the left.

Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Creates a new offence of persistently selling alcohol to children and gave courts additional powers to deal with this where it occurs.

Domestic regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Licensing Act 2003

The Licensing Act came into force in November 2005 and applies in England and Wales. It regulates four ‘licensable activities’:

  • the sale by retail of alcohol;
  • the supply of alcohol (i.e., in a members’ club);
  • the provision of regulated entertainment, and;
  • the provision of late night refreshment (i.e., after 11pm).

Domestic regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

The Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) Order 2010

Adds new mandatory conditions to premises licences that authorise the sale and supply of alcohol. These conditions are designed to: prohibit irresponsible promotions; require that a “responsible person” ensures that alcohol is not dispensed directly into the mouth; require that free tap water is provided to customers where it is reasonably available; and require that an age verification policy is in place in respect of the premises.”

Domestic regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

The Licensing Act 2003 (Summary Review of Premises Licences) Regulations 2007

Under s.53A of the Act, a Chief Officer of police may apply for a summary review of a premises licence if the premises is associated with serious crime or disorder. This regulation sets out the detailed requirements of this process.

Domestic regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

The Licensing Act 2003 (Permitted Temporary Activities) (Notices) Regulations 2005

Temporary Event Notices (TENs) enable licensable activities to be carried out on an occasional basis for short periods. This regulation sets out the form of a TEN and various other details about the current process

Domestic regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

The Licensing Act 2003 (Fees) Regulations 2005

The 2003 Act gives the Secretary of State power to make regulations prescribing the amount of the fees payable to licensing authorities by a person making an application or giving a notice under the 2003 Act.

Domestic regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

The Licensing Act 2003 (Hearings) Regulations 2005

Sets out the details of the procedure to be followed at hearings including details of the timescales within which it must occur. Hearings result from a number of processes in the Act, representations from bodies such as the police, or from a member of the public such as a concerned local resident.

Domestic regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

The Licensing Act 2003 (Premises licences and club premises certificates) Regulations 2005

Sets out a large number of details about the process under the Act. For example, it sets out the form of a premises licence, of the ‘blue notices’ that must be displayed when applications have been made, and of the notice of review that must be issued by the licensing authority if there is to be a review of a premises licence.

Domestic regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

The Licensing Act 2003 (Personal licences) Regulations 2005

If a premises licence authorises the sale of alcohol, there are mandatory conditions that there must a “Designated Premises Supervisor” in respect of that premises, and that this person must hold a personal licence; and that every sale of alcohol under the licence must be made or authorised by someone who holds a personal licence. This regulation stipulates a number of details about applications for personal licences, including the form on which the application must be made.

Domestic regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Tell us what you think should happen to these regulations and why, being specific where possible:

183 responses to Licensing

  • mark jones said on May 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    The licensing act 2003, an act which created a license application form 40 plus pages long, that employed dozens of people in each district council to do a job that was already being done by just a few, that increased the cost to the licensee by a staggering 3000% and that left the future of the on and off licensed trade in the politically motivated hands of local council employees rather than the legal and impartial, largely volunteer hands of the magistrates. What was the point and what has it achieved? Give it back to the law courts, make it impartial, make it open and transparent and stop trying to find ways to blame pubs for the irresponsible sale of alcohol by supermarkets and corner shops. It has just taken me three months to get a DPS change on a premises license so I have to ask what it is that these people have been doing in all this time – no doubt finding ways to spend the huge increase in business rates that they have recently imposed. It is time for government employees to get a dose of reality, if they had just had to trade through the last three years running a pub they might realise just how molly coddled they are.

    • Michael White said on May 20, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      Whilst I would be the first to acknowledge the difficulties faced by the licensed trade, it should be accepted that the previous system was flawed. A Justices Licence that cost £30 for three years meant that the Courts were subsidising the licensing system, and that was wrong. I am unaware of any application form that was 40 plus pages long – try halving that. Also, the vast majority of local authorities do not employ dozens of staff, it’s more like a handful. Licence fees are set by central government so your beef lies with them, not local authorities. Let’s have a reasoned debate on the future of the Licensing Act without the untruths and hysteria which some people on this website are displaying.

  • Andy Lenthall said on May 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    It is utterly wrong to link live music with crime and disorder. Live music encompases a vast array of genres; classical, folk, jazz, rock, dance…so many types of entertainment that contribute so much to our cultural industry and economic well-being. Yes, some live music is connected with the consumption of alcohol but there is absolutely no evidence to say that live music plus alcohol increases crime and disorder. On the contrary, it could be argued that live music plus alcohol is less of a risk than the consumption of alcohol alone.

    If government is committed to reducing the red tape burden, particularly on small to medium businesses, then remove this burden from live music, especially for smaller venues. The growth of music as a contributor to the UK economy is under threat from the rapid decline in grass-roots venues.

    To help cut the red tape burden on music in the UK, listen to UK Music!

  • Red Tape Challenger said on May 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks for all of the comments. So I’m picking up very different views on entertainment licensing – which people seem to think should be relaxed – and alcohol licensing where the views are much more mixed. Keep them coming – we will make sure that the Departments that own the regulations see the comments and answer the points raised. I’m particularly interested in examples of where the rules have held back either businesses or other groups. On alcohol licensing it would be great to get even more practical suggestion for the way processes could be improved. Thank you for getting involved!

    • Roger Gall said on May 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

      Perhaps it could be explained which Departments now “own” which licensing regulations and how workable this is thought to be, or are the Govt as confused as the public are about this?

      The DCMS (which we are given to understand stiil “own” Entertainment Licensing) are silent and only current firm proposals for any changes are those made by the Home Office and these are made as if there still was such a thing as a alcohol only licence and that such proposed changes will not affect anything other than alcohol related concerns.

      Until alcohol and entertainment licensing are once again separated in legislation, these proposals can only further adversly affect the entertainment and other aspects of the public’ s life, which remain covered by the Premises Licence requirements, when all sorts of claims are still being made about lifting these and reducing red-tape – without the Govt actually doing it…….

  • Robin Watson said on May 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    It should not require a license for a few friends to sit around a table in a pub and play some tunes on their acoustic instruments or sing a few songs. Whether this happens in an impromptu manner or as part of a regular community get together as a ‘folk club’, these are good things not dangerous acts that should be crushed by legislation as they have been in recent years through the Entertainment licensing legislation.

  • Cathy Koester said on May 16, 2011 at 11:22 am

    UK Music’s comments on the Licensing Act:

    The purpose of the Licensing Act is to prevent crime and disorder and to protect vulnerable people from harm.

    We believe that it was a fundamental mistake to use the provisions of the Licensing Act – which is about crime prevention — to regulate the performance of live music – which is about culture, creativity, and entertainment.

    Successive governments have been worried about the impact of the Licensing Act on live music. There have been many policy reviews and these have shown that the Licensing Act has not been beneficial to live music, particularly at grassroots level. Instead, the number of small premises staging live music has fallen.

    Live music is engrained in the UK’s cultural fabric, with thousands of performances taking place in local pubs, clubs, village halls and community centres every week. Our grassroots music culture is the bedrock of our world renowned music industry. We should protect and encourage our music heritage, not undermine it with heavy regulation designed to fight crime.

    One year ago, in May 2010, the Coalition manifesto committed to: “cut red tape to encourage the performance of more live music, ” a sentiment then repeated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget and in the Plan for Growth. As of yet, nothing. UK Music calls on the Government to now act as promised, to remove the regulation of live music from the Licensing Act, and to introduce an exemption for small premises wishing to stage live music.

  • Hilary Waller said on May 16, 2011 at 8:31 am

    At present the process is a ‘one size fits all’, whatever type of establishment you are. We are a small vineyard and winery, based in rural Devon. But the police still had to come out and talk to us about proof of age etc, which for the officer who came was a half-day including travel. Currently we sell wine by the bottle and our licenced sales point is a table in the winery. But if we ever want to move this into another building here, we would have to make a full scale reapplication with associated costs. But if we asked to add on-sales to our activities in the current location, then it is only a reduced scale ‘minor change’. I feel that the local Licencing Officer should have the power to decide what lengths that they go to in each case. They know the area and type of establishment and are in the best position to rate the ‘risk’ that the authorities involved need to review and what processes are applied. This might also reduce the costs and red tape involved for all parties.

    • Roger Gall said on May 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      The delegation of these responsibities to the local level is supposed to enable differences to be made in the knowledge of local circumstances. But often, decisions are defended on the ground that no other local authority does it any differently. So I am not sure if local delegation under this nationally-binding legislation can be justified or that adequate controls are currently in place to ensure the public’s interests.

      However, my experiences of the way they work, tell me that to place yet more power in the hands of local government employees is NOT the way forward. In far too many cases already, the law becomes in effect what those who are paid to locally enforce it, wish it to be and that to change these decisions is very difficult, as there is no effective watchdog.

  • Gary Morley said on May 16, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I think the requirement for people to have a liscence to play dvd’s in bars, schools and other public places is pointless and unnecessary.
    Every year thousands of schools across the country have days where pupils will watch a dvd in class, whether this is an educational film or just a hollywood movie they are allowed to watch as a treat.
    People do not inform the government when they are going to be showing movies in public, it’s unenforaceble and attempting to enforce it is a waste of tax payers money.

  • Robin Watson said on May 16, 2011 at 7:37 am

    It should not require a license for a few friends to sit around a table in a pub and play some tunes on their acoustic instruments or sing a few songs. Whether this happens in an impromptu manner or as part of a regular community get together as a ‘folk club’, these are good things not dangerous acts that should be crushed by legislation as they have been in recent years. Everybody involved in Parliamentary action against these and other innocent community musical activities should be deeply ashamed of the problems they have caused to people involved in these worth-while activities. It has been going on for years and is an absolute disgrace and those responsible should be sacked. Now!!!!

  • Eddie Murphy said on May 16, 2011 at 6:11 am

    I believe the issue of neighbour complaints needs to be addressed. People will buy properties adjacent or close to a public house at a discount and immediately complain about noise, irrespective of genuine issues the council log these complaints and will quote them should the occasion arise. I believe there should be a rule as in ordinary law of vexatious litigation, after over five years of ongoing issues and countless hours of police, council and our time aone particular neighbour is being ignored by all concerened. We as operators however live in fear of there being a genuine error or incident occasioning a breach of our license and the previous unsubstantiatd tthousands of complaints held against us. Both the police and council complain of the system but have nooption other than to follow the rules.

    • Roger Gall said on May 16, 2011 at 8:55 am

      Some police and councils may claim to have no option but to follow the rules as far as complaints are concerned. Some however make up their own rules. I have seen it written that a particular council has a duty to ‘try to reduce the number on complaints’. The legislation of course places no such obligation on what would be a pointless exercise. Currently, the Licensing Act 2003 refers not to complaints or objections but to representations, which include those made in favour of applications or activities. In theory at least, this Act should have ensured that the licensing authorities are seen to be treating both equally. In practice of course, the situation has changed little. Schemes are being created locally which actually encourage methods by which complaints can be made to officials who are only too eager to hear them but making any supporting representation proves very difficult.

    • S Farnsworth said on May 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      It is a strange inversion of the logic of the Licensing Act for your publican respondee here to complain of vexatious complainants: in return for vastly increased opening times and an increase in the allowable number of applications for entertainment licences, each overall licence had to be renegotiated. Far from ‘purchasing at a discount’ many people living close to pubs which suddenly became music halls had their properties blighted. Getting a licence reviewed or even its breach properly investigated is not an easy matter for any complainant – nor should they have to when they are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their property. In my view the powers of complaint, scrutiny and review of licences should be strengthened very considerably as it is my experience that the conditions originally stipulated in the renegotiated licences are frequently neither observed nor enforced.

    • Roger Gall said on May 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      If it is thought that getting a complaint against a licence reviewed and properly investigated is not currently an easy matter for a complainant – if you want to experience what turning a ‘eaf ear’ really means – you should try making a complaint about the actions of those employed by the licensing authority.

    • S Farnsworth said on May 18, 2011 at 10:05 am

      Well, we clearly have a live music lobbyist here.
      The plain fact is that the neighbours of publicans should not have to tolerate undue noise and nuisance and the 2003 Licensing Act greatly increased the opportunities for un-neighbourly publicans to create exactly that. The Act is there to protect neighbourhoods as well as provide for the needs of those who want to socialise with a drink and a performance.
      No change to the Act should be countenanced that worsens further the quality of life of those who live in the vicinity of public houses.

    • Roger Gall said on May 20, 2011 at 12:58 am

      Perhaps we should not resort to any form of name-calling here? To be so negative about the benefits of live music is obviously not something that disqualifies that person’s right to express their view. And to be enthusiastic about live music or indeed be a musician does not disqualify that right either, especially when the enthusiast is also a neighbour of publicans or may even be publicans themselves. And to my knowledge, Music Halls are not illegal and have provided the public with much pleasure and employment.

      Some neighbours may be convinced that this is the case, but the sole object of publicans is not to set about the best way to annoy their neighbours. But they are often faced with individual or organised groups of neighbours who seem determined to finds all sorts of ways (whether valid or not) to deprive them of their living.

      It is offensive to insinuate that the simple provision of live music generally must be regarded as undue noise and nuisance and as blighting properties or that this threat is such that it must be pre-emptively regulated by additional licensing. There has been absolutely no evidence presented to show any significant noise nuisance or public order problem caused by live music.

      Apart from this, there is only one point in the latest contribution with which I would take issue with. The Licensing Act 2003 did not in fact increase the opportunities for un-neighbourly publicans to create undue noise and nuisance. The measures introduced in the Act made little difference to undue noise and nuisance which, where this occurred, were already illegal and matters for other existing legislation to deal with.

      In fact, I would argue that the situation, re noise pollution from entertainment, was probably worse for complaining neighbours, under the previous legislation. For a pattern had been set which still confuses all parties. This has been noted as resembling a ’protection racket’. I have a letter from them, showing that employees of my council viewed the granting of the old PEL as a providing a commercial advantage to venues (which in return often paid a considerable fee). They would argue, in order to justify pursuing them, that venues providing any entertainment but not paying the fee – were gaining an unfair financial advantage over venues which had paid the required fee.

      Venues feeling that they had paid for such an advantage may have felt that they had been given a green light from the council to make noise pollution but this was never the case. Then as now, whether with or without additional entertainment licensing permission – all venues are still subject to other existing legislation for noise. Such venues may or may not have received protection from the Licensing Section over noise but I suggest that they may not have felt they were receiving value for their money, if the fee was set and demanded by one council office, for the activity only to be considered to be a noise concern by another.

      Under the previous legislation, it also made more sense to cash-strapped councils, to concentrate on licensing legislation, where there were grounds for noise issues, as they obtained fees from this – rather than using the correct legislation which may, more effectively bring an end to the neighbours noise issues but would also end the supply of welcome fees to the council. Although the financial benefits of fees are not what they were when the levels were set by individual councils – there still appears a reluctance for council employees to use the correct noise legislation. Where noise is a factor, thereis still a preference for them to use licensing instead.

  • Roger Gall said on May 16, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Additional entertainment licensing permission and noise – the myth.

    Due mainly to the myths still being perpetuated by the Local Government Group lobby, there is a commonly held assumption, that without the protection of the type of additional entertainment licensing contained in the Licensing Act 2003, the public are at risk to noise pollution. I was once told that ‘assumptions’ are the mother of all cock-ups’. In this case it only too true. I will go on to explain the danger of this assumption in more detail.

    Cultural activities, many of them totally non-amplified and never likely to cause any noise pollution, continue to be prevented and limited – in advance of a note being played – by the automatic requirement for the type of additional entertainment licensing contained in the Licensing Act 2003. These include Mumming Plays and participatory folk sessions.

    The only recognition currently contained in the Act, that non-amplified music is unlikely to be a noise concern and NOT require the automatic and advance requirement for the type of additional entertainment licensing contained in the Licensing Act 2003, is the exemption for non-amplified music for Morris Dancing. All other non-amplified music is still treated under the Act and – in advance of a note being played – as if it were automatically a noise concern.

    It is a fact, not much advertised by the Local Government Association Group lobby, in their continued opposition to any further exemptions, that since the last minute introduction into the Act of this exemption, the public have not been subject to mass noise pollution and the complete removal of this activity from licensing controls, has not threatened any of the Act’s objectives. As it is now exempt, there is no limit on when this form of live music must end or when it can start. This is just as well as much Morris Dancing, such as well-dressing celebrations and May Day welcoming, is a pre-dawn activity.

    But in a response to its conditional support of the Lord’s Private Members Live Music Bill, it is now proposed by the Govt that an 11.30pm curfew is required where ALL live music becomes licensable and subject to the type of additional entertainment licensing contained in the Licensing Act 2003.

    This is based on the well- supported assumption, that all live music and taking place anywhere and including Morris Dancing, will automatically cause noise pollution at this time and also based on the further assumption that the type of additional entertainment licensing contained in the Licensing Act 2003 is the way to protect the public from this noise pollution…..But are such assumptions correct and really a proportionate response for such crucial legislation to be based? I will explain that it is not.

    Prior to the Licensing Act 2003 – there was much small-scale live music in pubs which was exempt under the ‘two-in-a-bar’ rule. There was no evidence ever produced which showed that this was a problem that needed addressing by the abolition of this exemption. But sadly it was abolished, rather than improved.

    This live music ended when the pub closed (or a little before) but although there was a general closing time for the serving of alcohol – there was never a set time by which this live music would automatically end or where it automatically required additional licensing permission. In theory, at least, there was nothing preventing this live music from continuing in pubs after closing time – but as pubs exist to sell alcohol – it was an unlikely event. The local licensing officers would have to be convinced that alcohol was not being sold. But as is the case now, this live music was still subject to anti-noise legislation, whether entertainment licensing was in place or not.

    The Licensing Act 2003 has done away with a generally set closing time for alcohol, in favour of a more flexible approach.

    But now, despite the many problems associated with alcohol – it rather difficult to explain why it is all forms of live music, with its undoubted benefits, which will now find itself (in effect) with a set closing time or a time when it requires additional entertainment licensing to continue past a set time. This is based on the assumption that even non-amplified live music will automatically become a noise concern at this set time. And all this in advance, before a note has been sounded……

    The really illogical thing about this assumption, is that live music which does prove in practice to be an actual noise concern and HAS NOT been granted additional entertainment licensing will be subject to the very same legislation to control noise pollution, as would live music which HAS been granted additional entertainment permission and which does prove in practice to be an actual noise concern.

    For permission to make noise is not possible under the Licensing Act 2003 or indeed any other legislation – so what purpose can the introduction of this form of additional licensing permission possibly serve to address noise pollution? And why is the assumption that additional licensing permission CAN serve this role – so widely held? Why is the LGA Group lobby not making the true situation clear?

    If a licensee decided to operate a chain-saw – it is pretty obvious that the Licensing Act 2003 would be of no use in protecting residents from this noise pollution. If a neighbour plays their music system at excessive volume – again there is no question of the use of the Licensing Act 2003 as a means to protect residents. from this noise pollution.

    It is vitally important both in practice and politically that the public are protected against noise pollution but equally important that myths are not perpetuated. The Environmental Protection Act is the legislation that exist to protect the public from all forms of noise pollution and if this legislation is thought to be inadequate – it is this legislation which needs to be improved.

    Additional entertainment licensing under the Licensing Act 2003 is a very expensive and time consuming process – and as it cannot be used to deal with noise emanating from sources other than from entertainment – the pretence maintained by the LGA Group lobby and others, that additional entertainment permission can be any practical use to deal with noise, is one which is not credible.

    Partly, I suggest as a response to the LGA Group lobby, the Govt are now proposing an 11.30 point at which all live music requires the ‘protection’ afforded by this as part of the ‘price’ for their conditional support for the Private Members (Live Music) Bill, in the House of Lords.

    There is an argument that as all live music in this Bill will be exempt prior to this curfew – that this proposal is an improvement. I contend that no proposal should be made or agreed where there is no logical underlying reason to support it.

    The introduction of the Morris exemption is a good example. There was no logical reason why the exemption for non-amplified Morris performances could not have been extended to cover all non-amplified live music. It wasn’t extended but the possibly inconvenient fact remains, for arguments in favour of the introduction now of such a curfew, is that there is already in the Licensing Act 2003, an exemption for non-amplified live performances, which Parliament does not think automatically become a noise concern and does not think requires additional entertainment licensing at 11.30pm.

    As this exemption and the many other (often illogically based ) exemptions already contained in the Act, and to which the LGA Group Lobby are not actively opposing, have not proved to threaten the public – it shows that the real reasons for the LGA Group’s lobby’s implacable opposition to any further exemptions for live music should be examined in the light of this. I fear that it will be shown to be self-interest on this lobby’s part that is the true motivation, rather that any real concern for the public.

    What is currently being proposed (in the Lords) by the Govt, will mean in practice that the non-amplified live music sessions locally, will not require additional licensing permission but that these will become an illegal activity at 11.30 pm (without additional entertainment permission) on the grounds that it automatically becomes a noise concern – even when the pub remains open and alcohol can be served until midnight or even later. The red tape in this proposal is not being removed at all – only automatically triggered to come into effect at a set time. To the benefit, not of the public or live music but to the benefit only of those to whom the continuation of red tape remains their entire purpose but who are consulted as if they were impartial.

    I trust that common sense will prevail and that this will be shown when this Govt make some proposals of their own.

  • S. Mallett said on May 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    The Licensing of Live Music is a farce. In Oxford we even have local bylaws concurrent and contradictory to the Licensing Act. To avoid further bylaws, can we exclude small live events under 200 people from the Licensing Act? Could this also include events such as Farmer’s Markets, as a potential 200 people buying vegetables but co-incidentally walking by some live music hardly requires extreme licensing. The Licensing Act is simply not necessary, as the issues it tries to resolve are already covered by other environmental and public order legislation.

  • Humphrey said on May 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Roll on the proposed improvements in preventing drink abuse. BUT free up the licensing of live entertainment in small venues.

  • Simon Pawson said on May 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    The current licensing policy needs to be addressed. I own a small pub in the north of England and am plagued by unnessary red tape. I feel that whilst licensed premises need to be regulated, the wrong parts are regulated. For example films, music and dancing should be de regulated, i mean is it such a crime someone might dance in a pub ? Whereas tougher punishments and greater powers to police need to be brought in as a matter of urgency. Licensees who continually flout the rules by opening when they wish not sticking to notices on their licenses should be able to be closed by police there and then. Also the drinker needs to made responsible for their actions. If someone is barred from a venue, the police should have the power to arrest them for continually being on the premises causing issues/ annoyance. Also there should be a nationally recognised best bar none scheme which decent licensees should be able to apply and be montiored for to promote safe venues.

  • Simon Garbutt said on May 14, 2011 at 11:54 am

    The licensing of entertainment, particularly music and dancing, both indoors and outside, is a mess. Yes, the sale of alcohol should be regulated; so should large gatherings and events with loud, amplified music (or speech, even). But it makes no sense that huge TV screens showing Sky Sports can be set up in any pub, attracting large noisy crowds, without an extra license application, but a single acoustic musician or unamplified singer can’t perform legally in such premises without a specific license, even though they’d be unlikely to attract huge crowds or be audible more than a few metres away. I run a traditional folk music session and I know of several that have had to close down or move venues because of this ridiculous bureaucracy. As for outdoor entertainment, I believe the Morris Ring won an exemption for morris dancers to be allowed to perform to live music without a specific Temporary Event license, but other long-established traditional customs such as mumming plays and May garlanding involve music and singing and are now illegal without a license! I have heard that the Bacup & Britannia Coconut Dancers can no longer perform in some of their time-honoured sites because those bits of street or pavement have not been licensed for entertainment, despite the dances having been performed there for a century or more. These ridiculous regulations exist solely for the benefit of petty pen-pushing jobsworths.

  • Andrew Swaine said on May 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Deregulate entertainment. It’s a complete farce that singing Happy Birthday is a licensable activity – and has been interpreted by councils as such. The paperwork involved is a major drain on the ability of local people to organise events; it’s led to a vast reduction in the number of pubs able to accept traditional folk music sessions (I’ve witnessed it personally); traditional street mummer’s plays are now technically illegal. And it’s a waste with loads more unnecessary paperwork for the councils.

    There’s plenty of legislation already to deal with noise and other nuisances. Alcohol needs regulation, but entertainment doesn’t need regulating in anything like the same way, and certainly not for small audiences.

  • Phil Headford said on May 14, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Scrap it. The issues it tries to resolve are already covered by other environmental and public order legislation, and stifles artistic development in the community.

  • Mr Walker said on May 14, 2011 at 5:11 am

    Just to add, I do not believe it is fair at all to prioritise, or give special treatment to “live” music or to discriminate against recorded or amplified music by applying different rules to different types of music. For example, many underground club DJs are also producers and due to the nature of their music it often cannot be played live and must be compiled in a pre-recorded format and played out as a finished record just like any other record. This is an important means of expression to many DJs and producers and is the only conduit they have to express their music. Therefore i feel very strongly that it would be wholly inappropriate and not consistent with a fair society to favour or give special treatment to live music over recorded or amplified in legislation. Recorded music can be quieter than non amplified music depending on how loud it is played! – Perhaps a decibel limit above which a licence is required would be more approprate if sound levels are the concern (measured from OUTSIDE the premesis)

    Also it is very important to add that there is a flawed presumption in law regarding royalties payable on recorded music played in business premesis. And that is that all the music played is signed to a record label and therefore royalties are inevitably payable. In the underground DJ world, most records played are not signed to any label and anywhere where such music is played consistently should not be liable to pay these royalties whether they be an establishment, or any kind of business where this royalities law may apply. A simple solution would be to modify the law so that licenced material must be played for fees to be payable rather than simply any recorded music!

    • Gavin Scott said on May 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      It is live music that is discriminated against. Recorded music is not covered under this act, although dancing is. You do not need a council- approved licence to play recorded music in a public venue, although you do need a PRS for Music (formerly Performing Right Society) licence to cover the copyright on the music played (similar in nature to a TV licence). This is equally required for live music.

    • Tom Pegg said on May 16, 2011 at 9:22 am

      Recorded music does fall under the category of Regulated Entertainment, and as such does indeed require a license by the venue!

    • Gavin Scott said on May 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm

      Apologies; recorded music does fall under the category of Regulated Entertainment when it is provided as ‘Entertainment’ and is not incidental. E.g. karaoke backing tracks are licensable, but a jukebox isn’t, and neither is background music.

      I forgot to mention that you do also need a PPL license in addition to the PRS licence. (One covers the copyright of the songwriters, the other the copyright of the performers.)

  • Alex Walker said on May 14, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Whether you are a bricks and mortar establishment or just a group of people spontaneously gathering on a beach with some sound equipment, you should not be treated any differently under the law in terms of music and entertainment. I echo the calls for any licence requirements for a capacity of less than 200 regarding music to be abandonned. Also if they happen to not be selling alcohol either for example, then what are they actually doing which requires any licence? Nothing i suspect, in which case, if less than 200 people wish to randomly gather on a beach and listen to music from a sound system then how is it any different? They should not be treated any differently under the law than if they were surrounded by bricks and mortar. Obviously being outdoors, they are at a greater risk of causing disturbance to those around them which is an issue the police may have to deal with on site. But this is where a critical issue arises.

    I believe in order to order such an event to be shut down either outdoors, or in a premesis, an on the spot sample of opinion should have to be taken from persons in the vicinity. One or two biggots complaining should not be enough to spoil everyone elses fun! – It should be a majority verdict at least, if not more. i.e if 10 people are asked if they find an event or noise to be a disturbance or offensive, at least 6 or more should have to agree for the police to take action. Or maybe even more like 10 out of 12 as if it were a jury. If it was a fully licenced outdoor event with thousands of people, then a few bigots complaining would not be enough for the police to shut it down. Bar licencing illegalities, this should not be any different for a smaller gathering. But this also brings up the issue of at what point does a private gathering begin to constitute a public event for which regulation may or may not be required? The law should be far more specific on this and if/where a specific number of persons is specified in law, this should be increased to at least 30 to 50 people.

    I suspect police interpretation of the law about what constitutes an illegal gathering, or on how many sufficient complaints regarding causing a disturbance should be required to take action etc, which is at best often unpredictable, is a big problem which would be much less of an issue with a more clear peice of legislation. As for other legal grounds police and councils may use to stop events, I believe these should need to pass a much greater threshold of justification, and there should be greater and more easily enforcable accountability also. i.e. Grounds such as threats to “public safety”? – Consenting adults do not want or need to be nannied! They are perfectly capable of looking after themselves! Unless there is some serious threat it would not be reasonable to expect people to already be aware of. Any underage attendance should have to be proven also aswell as having consumed alcohol. The blame for any underage drinking at an event should not be pinned on the organisers either, or at least not if they are not even selling alcohol as it is impossible to keep tabs on everyone and everything without going back down the opposite red tape route again.

    I also strongly echo the need to dissassociate the issue of music or a music licence with alcohol related problems. Police and councils should not have the power to order a premesis or it’s owners to cease trading or shut down entirely due to an unrelated issue. If it is deemed alcohol is a problem, then at worst the alcohol licence should be suspended, and they should not have the power to remove the music licence aswell. The police are also not qualified to judge whether music or the kind of music played is a contributory factor to violence and make on the spot decisions to order a premisis to cease plaing music on the spot under new orders that seem to have been brought in in the past few years. Police in south london reportedly seemed to believe they had the power to ban a nightclub from playing funky house music as they believed it was encouraging crime! This is a down right offensive and outrageous stance to take, not to mention clueless as funky house is pretty much the exact opposite of any kind of music which encourages violence, whilst vile rap music embracing guns and murder was not even mentioned. A prime example of why the police cannot be trusted to make judgements on such matters and their powers should be significantly reigned in and any enforcement action they impose should not last over 24 hours. There should also be an appeals and accountability process to clamp down on police forces who overstep or abuse their authority.

    • Roge Gall said on May 15, 2011 at 11:53 pm

      The point about entertainment in fixed premises such as pubs and clubs etc is that the public’s interests have already been regulated here by legislation other than licensing. However the pretence is still being maintained by the Local Goverment Association group lobby, that the introduction of live music presentsadditinal risks which this legislation cannot deal with and which requires additional entertainment licensing. It no longer does require this expensive duplication of measures already contained in Planning. Environmental and Safety legislation.

  • Mr Walker said on May 14, 2011 at 2:56 am

    Another very important issue i feel in establishments which is often overlooked is the need for ventilation. While getting rid of useless red tape which is all good, it would perhaps be even more beneficial to at the same time as reviewing the whole thing, look for a few areas where legislation is needed. Stuffy, Smelly, unventilated environments are a very unhealthy environment and are the prime location for spreading disease. I cant even go to my local club without having a cold for a whole week afterwards. It is absolutely disgusting in this day and age that this has not been sorted out. Think how much money the NHS would save from the great reduction in ilnnesses spread in stuffy establishements. The Americans are decades ahead of the UK on this and there seems to be a distinct lack of awareness and need for education in the UK regarding the importance of fresh air.

    It would also be a prudent measure in advance of any serious biological disease or threat which may hit the UK in the future like the bird flu which could have easily become a pandemic. Why do you think so many people get colds in the winter. It’s because people dont open door and windows to let fresh air in! – Ventilation should be a legal requirement for any venue with a capacity of say over 20 people or even less as just a few people is all it takes to spread disease. Many places already have ventilation but may not even bother to remember to switch it on. Legislation will ensure this is taken as seriously as it should have been a long time ago, yet it’s so simple. Even giving grants to establishments to cover the costs of installation etc could easily dwarf the NHS savings, and definately in the long run – And think about the cruise ship pandemics that could be wiped out!

  • Josephine Vos said on May 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    It is important to make sure that venues such as strip clubs, table dancing clubs and topless bar are required to obtain special licenses so that local communities and local authorities can control where and when they open.

    • Roger Gall said on May 13, 2011 at 11:11 pm

      It is important that all premises for public use are fit for that purpose. This is already established by planning and other legislation and the introduction of additional licensing permission for some premises but not others, is simply unecessary and expensive duplication

    • Mr Walker said on May 14, 2011 at 4:39 am

      It is very important to draw a distinction between venues such as strip clubs and brothels on the one hand, and swingers, nudist and fetish clubs on the other which many people seem to think of as one and the same when they couldn’t be further from the truth!

      The only similarity is that they both may have a sexual theme. Other than that they are completely different and attract a completely different type of crowd. They should not be associated in any way with the sleazy profiteering and thuggish/criminal image which many of the clubs you mention tend to be associated with in the minds of the many members of the public.

      Such clubs should not require any of the licences that strip clubs and the like do. They should not require any licences other than what a normal venue would, and the need for specific licensing to allow things like public nudity and consensual sexual activity is ridiculous in the 21st Century!

      What right does any government have to interfere in such things in a supposedly free and tolerant society, really?!

Bookmark and Share