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How to report problems and apply for a Review


Making a Complaint about a Licensed Premises

Premises Licence holders are expected to run their businesses in accordance with the licensing objectives which are:

  • To prevent gambling being a source of crime and disorder, being associated with crime and disorder or being used to support crime.
  • To make sure gambling is conducted in a fair and open way.
  • To protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

From time to time, however, there may be cause for complaint. Should an issue arise please note that you may contact the Licensing Unit as follows: 

  • Telephone: 0300 303 7800
  • Email: licensing@sedgemoor.gov.uk
  • Writing directly to the Licensing Unit using the address at the foot of this page

The initial complaint will be dealt with confidentially and we will engage with the licence holder in order to resolve the issue should it relate to one of the licensing objectives. If problems were to continue, however, the triggering of a Review of the licence may be necessary, full details of which are below.

Review of a Licensed Premises

Review of a Premises licence

S.197 of the Act provides that an application for review may be made by a responsible authority or an interested party (see details below). Such applications must be submitted to the licensing authority in the prescribed form and state the reasons why a review is being requested, together with any supporting information and documents.

The regulations require the applicant to provide written notice of their application to the premises licence holder and to all responsible authorities, within seven days of making their application. Failure to do so will halt the application process until notice is received by all parties.

Representations must be made within 28 days, commencing seven days after the date on which the application was received. During these seven days the licensing authority is required to publish notice of the application.

The Act sets out two categories of organisations and individuals that may feature in applications for and reviews of premises licences, responsible authorities and interested parties.

Decision whether to grant an application for a review

S.199 provides that a licensing authority must grant an application for a review, unless it decides to reject the application under s.198 of the Act. By virtue of s.198, an application may, but need not, be rejected if the licensing authority thinks that the grounds on which the review is sought:

  • a) are not relevant to the principles that must be applied by the licensing authority in accordance with s.153,namely the licensing objectives, the Commission's codes of practice and this guidance, or the licensing authority's statement of policy
  • b) are frivolous
  • c) are vexatious
  • d) will certainly not cause the licensing authority to revoke or suspend a licence or to remove, amend or attach conditions on the premises licence
  • e) are substantially the same as the grounds cited in a previous application relating to the same premises
  • f) are substantially the same as representations made at the time the application for a premises licence was considered.

 

Responsible authorities

Responsible authorities are public bodies that must be notified of applications and that are entitled to make representations to the licensing authority in relation to applications for, and in relation to, premises licences.

S.157 of the Act identifies the bodies that are to be treated as responsible authorities. They are:

  • (a) a licensing authority in England and Wales in whose area the premises is wholly or partly situated
  • (b) the Gambling Commission
  • (c) the chief officer of police or chief constable for the area in which the premises is wholly or partially situated
  • (d) the fire and rescue authority for the same area
  • (e) in England and Wales, the local planning authority, or in Scotland, the planning authority
  • (f) the relevant authority as defined in s.6 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005
  • (g) an authority which has functions in relation to pollution to the environment or harm to human health
  • (h) anybody, designated in writing by the licensing authority, as competent to advise about the protection of children from harm
  • (i) HM Revenue & Customs
  • (j) any other person prescribed in regulations by the Secretary of State.

S.211(4) of the Act provides that in relation to a vessel, but no other premises, responsible authorities also include navigation authorities, within the meaning of s.221(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991, that have statutory functions in relation to the waters where the vessel is usually moored or berthed, or any waters where it is proposed to be navigated at a time when it is used for licensable activities. This would include:

  • (a) the Environment Agency in England and Wales or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland
  • (b) the British Waterways Board
  • (c) the Secretary of State. In practice, this would be the Secretary of State for Transport who acts through the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Interested Parties

S.158 of the Act defines interested parties. To accept a representation from an interested party, the licensing authority must take the view that the person:

  • lives sufficiently close to the premises to be likely to be affected by the authorised activities
  • has business interests that might be affected by the authorised activities
  • represents persons in either of these two groups. Licensing authorities will need to have regard to anything an interested party says about their status to make representations.

The approach taken by licensing authorities in determining who is an interested party should be dealt with in their policy statement. As with responsible authorities, regulations require this information to be in a separate section of the policy statement, as outlined in Part 6 at paragraph 6.18 onwards.

The following gives further advice on how licensing authorities can determine whether someone is an interested party.

People living close to the premises

There are a number of factors that licensing authorities should take into account when determining whether a person 'lives sufficiently close to the premises'. These might include:

  • the size of the premises
  • the nature of the premises
  • the distance of the premises from the location of the person making the representation
  • the potential impact of the premises such as the number of customers, routes likely to be taken by those visiting the establishment
  • the circumstances of the person who lives close to the premises. This is not their personal characteristics, but their interests which may be relevant to the distance from the premises.

Relevant factors will depend on the particular application. For example, it is reasonable for a licensing authority to consider that living sufficiently close to premises to likely be affected could have a different meaning for (a) a private resident, (b) a residential school for children with truanting problems and (c) a residential hostel for vulnerable adults.

The nature and scope of business interests that could be affected

It could be argued that any gambling business could be affected by another gambling business expanding into any part of Great Britain. But that is unlikely to be enough to satisfy the test of being 'a person with business interests that might be affected by the premises' under consideration. For example, an operator in a particular sector be it casino, bingo, betting etc, should not be able to lodge representations on every application put in by a rival operator anywhere in the country, simply because they are in competition within the same gambling sector. Specifically, licensing authorities are reminded that the 'demand test' from previous gambling legislation does not apply under the Act.

The licensing authority should be satisfied that the relevant business is likely to be affected. Factors that are likely to be relevant include:

  • the size of the premises
  • the 'catchment' area of the premises, that is, how far people travel to visit the premises
  • whether the person making the representation has business interests in that catchment area that might be affected.

People representing those in the above categories

Interested parties can be people who are democratically elected such as councillors and MPs, as persons representing individuals in the other categories. This would include county, parish and town councillors. Other representatives might include bodies such as trade associations and trade unions, and residents' and tenants' associations. A school head or governor might act in representing the interests of pupils or parents and a community group might represent vulnerable people living near to the proposed premises.

Save for democratically elected persons, licensing authorities should satisfy themselves on a case by case basis that a person does represent interested parties, and request written evidence where necessary. A letter from the interested person(s) they are representing would be sufficient.

Licensing Authority address

Licensing Unit
Sedgemoor District Council
Bridgwater House
Bridgwater
Somerset
TA6 3AR

Current reviews

Information on licences currently being reviewed can be seen here: Licence reviews

Licence reviews