A hugely topical issue in licensing law, Cumulative Impact Policies can present a real barrier to licensing new venues. Many local authorities have implemented these policies in their town and city centres as a response to a high concentration of licensed premises and the problems this can create in terms of crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour.
The effect of such a policy is to create a presumption that no new licences (or extensions to existing licences) will be granted in a specific area. That presumption can be rebutted, but the onus is on the applicant for a new licence to show that they will not add to the issues currently experienced. These policies can be incredibly restrictive and can cause problems to aspiring operators.
However, we are firmly of the belief that these policies should not prevent high quality, responsible operators from opening new licensed premises. Indeed, we believe that authorities should encourage this in order to raise the bar in problematic areas. A high quality operator attracts the right kind of customer and can encourage others in the area to raise their standards.
Nonetheless, responsible authorities consistently object to applications for new licences within these areas, meaning that, almost universally, a hearing is required in respect of such applications. We have represented numerous applicants in hearings of applications for new licences in Cumulative Impact areas, and have an impressive track record of success.
We have obtained licences for clients in Cumulative Impact areas across the country, including in London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Cardiff, York, Bournemouth, Derby, Bristol, Norwich and Newcastle. We work extremely hard on preparing and presenting a comprehensive case and demonstrating to the Committee the essence of your business and why you are exceptional.
Q: I am interested in acquiring a premises located within a Cumulative Impact Policy Area. How do I go about obtaining a licence there?
A: Pre-application consultation with the key ‘Responsible Authorities’ is always useful before lodging any premises licence, but we consider it to be crucial for sites located within Cumulative Impact Policy Areas. We recommend early engagement with those key consultees, such as the Police and Environmental Health Team, to discuss the details of the application to ensure as smooth a passage through the application process as possible.