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LA 2003 Guidance note - Making a representation

Interested parties can make representations when a new premises licence or qualifying club premises certificate is applied for or when there is an application to vary a licence/certificate.

The purpose of this guidance is to offer assistance to local residents wishing to make representations about licensing applications, e.g. applications for new premises licences or applications to vary existing premises licences and club premises certificates made under the Licensing Act 2003.

This guidance explains who is entitled to make representations and how such representations should be made. It also explains the process which follows once representations have been received by the Council.

Licensing Act 2003
The Licensing Authority (London Borough of Sutton) issues premises licences which allow businesses to carry out the following licensable activities:

  • Sale by retail of alcohol
  • The provision of regulated entertainment
  • The provision of late night refreshment between 11pm and 5am.

This affects pubs, bars, restaurants, supermarkets, off licences, cinemas, theatres, community premises and late night takeaways to name just a few.

The Act requires applicants for licences to stipulate how they will promote the licensing objectives of:

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

These licensing objectives have equal weight and form the entire basis of how the Act works.

Application made under the Licensing Act 2003
A premises licence can authorise one or more licensable activities. Some premises, such as takeaways, will just have late night refreshment while other venues such as hotels and night clubs may have a combination of all licensable activities.

At any time the holder of a premises licence or club premises certificate can make an application to the Licensing Authority to vary their licence. These variation applications as well as brand new premises licence applications must be advertised so local residents can object to the council.

Advertising of applications
A blue notice will advertise an application for a new licence or a variation to an existing licence. The notice must be prominently displayed on or near the premises, in a place that is accessible by the public.

The notice will provide a final date for representations as well as brief details of the application.

For full variations and new premises licence applications applicants must also place a notice about their application in a local newspaper. This notice will appear within 10 days of the applicant making their application to the Council.

The council also publishes all applications received on our website.

Criteria for making a representation
Your representation must be relevant and based on the likely effect the granting of the application will have on the promotion of the following licensing objectives.

For example, if you are concerned the granting of a variation will lead to an increase in crime and disorder in the area of the premises, this is a relevant representation.

However, if you are concerned that the granting of longer hours at the premises will lower house prices in the area; this is not a relevant representation and can not be considered by the Licensing Authority.

The Licensing Authority will also not consider representations that are frivolous or vexatious, e.g. a frivolous representation is one that does not have a serious purpose or is not serious in its nature, whilst a vexatious representation is one that is made purely to cause annoyance to the applicant.

Relevant representations must be in writing and submitted to the Licensing Authority but this does include emails. Your representation must reach us within the 28 day notice period and can be emailed to licensing@sutton.gov.uk or sent to the Licensing Manager, London Borough of Sutton, Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton.

Late representations will not be considered. If you are unsure when the application was made, you can check on the council's web site via the link above.

The licensing manager will initially check your representation to ensure that your comments relate to one or more of the four licensing objectives. Assuming that your representation fulfils the criteria, it will be copied and sent to the applicant, along with any other representations received.

It is important that the applicant is provided with the opportunity to address the comments raised in your representation. In addition, a copy of your representation will be included in the committee papers and your personal details may form part of the recorded decision, all of which are public documents.

If you do not want your personal details to be released then you will be unable to make a personal representation unless there are exceptional circumstances. For example if you believe that you may suffer reprisals if your personal details are released you can contact the council to discuss. It may then be possible to exclude your personal details if the circumstances warrant it.

Alternatives to making a representation
If you do not want your personal details to be released then you can approach a local representative who may consider making the representation on your behalf. You should not delay in seeking a representative as any representations must be received within the 28 day notice period. You could ask a local Councillor, residents association or any other locally recognised body.

It is advised that you write to the chosen representative as they will need to keep evidence of your request (in the instance of any further challenge, i.e. through an appeal hearing). You must provide them with your name, address and details of the grounds upon which your representation is made. They will need to use their local knowledge to satisfy themselves that your representation complies with the required criteria, and agree to take the matter on your behalf.

They should then submit a written representation to the Licensing Authority replicating the grounds upon which your representation is made.

We will then process this representation as we would any others, i.e. send a copy to the applicant and include a copy in the Committee report.

Please note that all future dialogue and correspondence will be held with your representative, and the licensing authority will not be in a position to make direct contact with you. Consequently, the Notice of Hearing and any decision letter will also be sent to your representative.

The Licensing Authority may accept petitions, but there are some important factors to consider before organizing a petition:

  • The petition must relate to one or more of the licensing objectives to be a valid representation
  • Each page of the petition should contain information as to the purpose of the petition so that all persons know what they are signing
  • Full names and addresses must be supplied and be legible
  • All signatories must be made aware that a copy of the petition will be supplied to the applicant and a copy will be contained within the committee papers, so their personal details will become public knowledge
  • We ask that the instigator of the petition is identified as a central point of contact. We may need to make contact in order to verify certain matters and if we are unable to do this it could invalidate the petition
  • It is expected that the instigator will represent the signatories at the hearing and to speak for them.

If relevant representations are made the application shall be referred for a hearing of a licensing sub committee.

The Licensing Sub-Committee is made up of three Councillors selected from the full Licensing Committee but Councillors whose ward the premises is located in will not be eligible to sit on the sub committee.

All parties (the applicant and any objectors), will receive a Notice of Hearing. The Notice will set out the date, time and location and explains the procedure to be followed at the hearing. This notice is usually sent out at least ten days before the hearing.

All parties will be able to address the Sub-Committee. All parties are restricted to equal time in order to make their submissions, therefore where there are a lot of objectors/supporters present, the Sub-Committee may request that a spokesperson is nominated.

Please note that whilst this is a public hearing only those who have made their identity known through their letter of representation may address the Committee in person. Therefore, if you have chosen to use a local representative, only they may speak on your behalf.

Even if you (or your representative) are unable to attend the hearing the Sub-Committee will still consider your written representation.

In making decisions the Sub-Committee will take into account all of the written and verbal evidence before them. They also have a duty to take into account the licensing objectives set out in the Act, The Council's Statement of Licensing Policy and guidance given by the Secretary of State.

The Sub-Committee will announce their decision at the hearing, and written confirmation will be distributed to all parties following the hearing.

If any party is aggrieved by the decision, then there is a right of Appeal to the Magistrates Court.

If you would like to make a licensing enquiry, please use the online form.