CABINET CALL: By South Holland District Councillor Malcolm Chandler
The subject of alcohol licensing has generated a lot of media coverage and opinions recently, so I thought this column would be a good chance to clear up some facts on it.
I’ll start by addressing calls for us to introduce a Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP) – which could restrict applications for new off licences in certain areas.
Back in 2013 an all partner group looked in detail at introducing a CIP covering parts of Spalding.
At the time there was insufficient legal evidence for this, so a number of other initiatives were brought in to address the issues.
Currently as the law stands, the requirement to consider need or suitability is not available to panels, having been removed when the 2003 Act was introduced in 2005.
Calls for a review of this Act have failed to gain suitable responses from MPs.
There have been a number of other Acts introduced which have amended the 2003 Act, however, none have given powers to authorities to deal with the important issue of need. Since a meeting of responsible partners last June, work has been ongoing looking again at the evidence for a CIP.
You may also have seen that seven local off licences have recently been called to review.
Evidence provided by the Police, Trading Standards, HMRC and the SHDC Licensing Authority has resulted in all seven having their premises licences revoked.
A CIP would not have any influence on existing licences, but would affect new applications within a designated zone and applicants would have to stand up to rigorous legal tests.
We introduced The Stamp it Out campaign before Christmas advising shoppers what to watch out for regarding sales of smuggled spirits and I would again urge anyone with evidence of smuggled wines, spirits, or cigarettes on sale to report this to the police.
The licensing authority will continue to work within the laws and use its current powers for the overall benefit of the community whilst working with its partners and other authorities to bring about those much needed changes we all seek.
Full details explaining how residents can make a representation on an existing premise or new premise licence application are available at www.sholland.gov.uk