What you can do to get involved

There are a number of ways you can provide feedback on Licenses in your community.

If you are concerned about how a place that supplies (sells) alcohol is operating, there are processes you can use to address this (see below). When a new licence application or full variation application has been submitted the applicant must place a pale blue notice outside the premises or for a minor variation application a white notice.

When a business has submitted an application for a new alcohol licence or a variation to an existing alcohol licence there are 28 days to comment before the licence is automatically issued.

During this period you can talk to whoever is applying about changing their application to take account of any concerns you might have. If changes to the application cannot be made then you have the opportunity to comment on the application to the licensing authority. This is called ‘making a representation’. You do not have to live nearby to do this. If there are enough, relevant representations the licensing authority will decide whether or not a licensing sub-committee hearing should be held.

The hearing panel is made up of three councillors. Anyone who has made a representation will also attend to present their evidence. The Chair ensures the hearing follows correct procedure and the panel makes the final decision on whether or not the licence application will be granted fully, granted but with amendments or refused. The panel can also add conditions to a licence, where appropriate, e.g. requiring a ‘Challenge 25 Policy’ (ask to see ID for any person that looks under the age of 25). Decisions can only be based on the four licensing objectives, and whether or not the application will uphold them. You should ensure that your representation relates to one or more of the licensing objectives.

If you cannot attend a hearing in person you can nominate someone to attend on your behalf. You must inform the licensing department 2 days prior to the hearing. That person can only speak about your representation and not about new or different issues. If you cannot attend and have not nominated someone else, then your original representation will be read by the sub-committee. However, it is likely to be given less weight as you are not there for the applicant to ask you questions.

For more information on how to write a representation in relation to an alcohol licence see our "How to Make a Representation" page. An example representation form can be found by clicking HERE.

The licensing authority has to follow strict procedures when considering alcohol licence applications.

The main applications types are for new premise licences / certificate, minor / major variations to existing licences / certificates or licence / certificate reviews.

Top Tips on writing Representations on an Alcohol Licence Application are available on p14-17 in the Guidance Document.

If after you have shared your concerns things do not get better, you can provide evidence and make an application for the licensing authority to review the licence of the premises concerned. Suitable evidence includes; a diary / record of events or incidents, sound recordings, a record of complaints made to authorities, supporting statements from fellow neighbours (View the "Step by Step guide to Commenting on an Alcohol Licence Application" for more information). If there is enough evidence the licensing authority will consider calling the licence into review. A review can only be requested for one premises and not a group of premises. More than one review application must be submitted if more than one premises is involved.