Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Myths and Facts of 24-Hour Licensing

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Myths and Facts of 24-Hour Licensing

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stephen Graham

A good deal has been written over the past few months regarding the implementation of the new licensing regime, which came into effect on November 24 ( most of it seeking to sensationalise the provisions set out within the Licensing Act 2003.

Amongst the misinformation and claims which appear to have gained prominence are the following:

* That 24-hour drinking will be available and will be commonplace.

* That the councils which now administer the system have been powerless to stop applications to extend the licensing hours.

* That residents are being excluded from the decision-making process.

Those claims have no doubt been made to grab the headlines and are in many cases simply untrue.

Fact: To my knowledge there has not been a single application by a public house or club in the North- East which has been granted that would extend the hours to allow 24-hour opening.

The only successful applications I am aware of relate to some larger supermarkets and even those applications have been granted only in part and subject to strict conditions. The reality is that most pubs and clubs have applied to extend their hours, but usually only for an hour or two restricted to the weekends.

The position in the North-East is mirrored throughout the country.

Westminster Council, for example, said that of the 3,600 licensed premises in their area, only 686 have asked for their opening hours to be extended.

Only 77 of those applications have asked for 24-hour drinking and most of those are said to be from hotels within the Westminster area. Of the 686 applications, 214 have been rejected. In a number of other councils, figures have been published to show that requests for 24-hour opening had been rejected and that 85% of applications to extend opening hours have also been rejected outright or in part.

Fact: The application for either a new license or a variation of an existing license must be served on the licensing department of the local authority, as well as seven other departments within the authority itself, the police and the fire authority. …

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