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Cumulative Impact

Licensing Authorities can adopt tougher restrictions in areas where unacceptable levels of crime, disorder or public nuisance have been identified

Many local authorities tackle public nuisance and crime and disorder in areas saturated by licensed premises by adopting cumulative impact policies.

Sometimes known as saturation zones or stress areas, the principle here is that the existing disorder and/or public nuisance is so bad that no new premises should be licensed or additional capacity allowed. In addition, later hours for existing premises may be difficult to achieve.

Since 2017, Licensing Authorities have been required by law to provide evidence to support a Cumulative Impact Policy, known as a Cumulative Impact Assessment. Such Assessments must be reviewed at least every three years.

Applicants who have premises or are seeking to buy premises (and make changes to the licence) in these areas will need to address the issues in their operating schedules in order to show that any application, if granted, would not add to the ‘cumulative impact’.

Whilst popular with the police, many see these zones as leading to a lack of choice for the consumer and to a reduction of standards in existing establishments.

Since the pandemic, some Licensing Authorities have recognised that, due to the hospitality sector being effectively shut down for many months, there simply isn’t the evidence to support cumulative impact and have consequently removed their cumulative impact policy or reduced its extent.

Given that we have worked with every Licensing Authority in England and Wales, we’re well placed to advise you based on previous applications or variations that we’ve dealt with. Give us a call and we’ll chat it through.

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