Friday, 19 November 2010

Consultation on LBTH Licensing Policy ignores residents associations

Yet again, Tower Hamlets Council fails to inform Residents Associations in the borough about public consultations.  This time it's about a review of the Licensing Policy.

  • How long is it going to take the Council to come up with a list of all residents associations which need to be informed about ALL public consultations?
  • Why does the RSS feed for the news part of the Council website not allow email subscriptions so that all Council news is automatically sent to our Residents Association inbox?

At the end of this post is the text of what it says on the page devoted to the review of its Licensing Policy.  Unfortunately the Council appears to be treating this as if it's an administrative matter only because:
  • they have not provided documentation which allows the public to see the "before" and the "after" versions of the policy
  • the outline of what involves focuses on the changes rather than the content of the whole Policy - and does NOT indicate that the whole policy is up for review.
The reality is that "a review of policy" means just that - a review of the WHOLE of the policy. To pretend otherwise is to negate the involvement of the public and the purpose of public consultation.

There are residents organisations - including three around Mile End - which take the view that the current licensing policy completely fails to protect residential neighbourhoods from the impact of nightclubs operating after normal licensing hours.

We are all very concerned about the way in which licensed premises forming part of the night-time economy disrupt the sleep of local residents on a regular basis due to excessive noise and other anti-social behaviour - and the failure of 'so-called' controls to prevent this from happening.

As such we'd like to see the licensing policy changed to strengthen the protection it gives to our quiet enjoyment of our neighbourhoods at night.

MERA and other organisations in the area of Mile End have put a lot of time and effort into making our views known about the way the licensing policy operates locally. To then NOT be told that the licensing policy is up for consultation smacks of complete indifference to the views of the local population - and completely fails to deliver on the requirement for proper public consultation.

We will today be making our views known to the Council and the licensing officers and will be asking for an extension to the consultation period so that we can submit a formal response.

You too can make a comment about this consultation process.

Licensing policy consultation

The current Licensing Policy

The Council’s current Licensing Policy (PDF 226k) was adopted by the full Council in December 2007.

Under the Licensing act 2003, the licensing authority must review its licensing policy every three years and publish the outcome of that review.

The Draft Licensing Policy

The Draft Licensing Policy (PDF 169k) is at the consultation stage which expires on 19th November 2010.
The most significant additions to the draft policy are as a result of legislative changes these are:-
  • Minor Variations -This enables the licence holder to make relatively minor variations to their premises, and the licensable activities they carry out, without being required  to go through the full variation process and
  • Mandatory Conditions Government have introduced mandatory conditions that will be applied to all licences. These conditions relate to  Drinks Promotions - Restricting drinks promotions that encourage irresponsible drinking.  Age Restrictions / Proof of Age Cards – Alllicensees to have an age verification policy.
  • “No Traveller” and similar signs – an addition has been made to this Paragraph ‘ or any particular class of persons ‘.
Please submit your comments, if any, to the Licensing Service at the address below or to or by email to by 19th November 2010.

For further information, please contact the Tower Hamlets Licensing Team:

Mulberry Place (AH)
PO Box 55739
5 Clove Crescent
E14 1BY
Opening hours are: 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday
Tel: 020 7364 5008
Fax: 020 7364 0863

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