Public invited to comment on Highland Licensing Board policy statement

A public consultation has now commenced on a revised Policy Statement which will set out the Highland Licensing Board’s policies for the next three years.  The deadline for responses is 31 July, 2013.  A consultation questionnaire is available here.

The aim of the Policy Statement is to promote consistency of decision-making and to give advance notice to applicants of the Board’s likely approach to determining applications.

Convener Councillor Maxine Smith said: “Although there is a presumption that the Board will follow the terms of  its Policy Statement in determining individual applications, it is open to applicants to seek the grant of applications which are contrary to the Board’s Policy Statement. In such cases, applicants will be required to demonstrate to the Board good reason why the Board’s Policy Statement should not be followed. In particular, they will require to satisfy the Board that the decision sought will not conflict with any of the licensing objectives.”

The Licensing Board are required by the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005  to make provision for regulating the sale of alcohol and licensed premises. Section 6 of the Act requires every Licensing Board to publish, every three years, a statement of their policy in respect of the exercise of their functions under the Act. In preparing their licensing policy statements, Boards must seek to promote the licensing objectives, which are:-

1. preventing crime and disorder
2. securing public safety
3. preventing public nuisance
4. protecting and improving public health
5. protecting children from harm.
The Board is responsible for various functions under the Act, including the grant of Premises Licences;  Personal Licences; Occasional Licences; Provisional Licences; Temporary Licences; Extensions to Licensed Hours; Transfers of Premises Licences; Variations to Premises Licences.
The Board also has responsibility for conducting reviews of premises licence where a valid ground of review (breach of licence conditions or any other ground relevant to a licensing objective) has been alleged. The Act confers powers on the Board to impose sanctions where, following a review hearing, it is satisfied that the ground is established.
A Policy Statement indicates general policy on a variety of issues but cannot cover every eventuality. Where issues arise which are not fully covered by the Board’s Policy Statement, or where amendments to the Act or associated secondary legislation so require, the Board may issue further guidance and, subject to further consultation, may publish Supplementary Licensing Policy.

23 May 2013