Published: 08 September 2016
Q: I recently applied to change the hours on my Premises Licence for my pub, and it met with objections from local residents. I went to the hearing and took a petition with me. The petition was signed by over 300 local people who use my pub, and who supported the extension. At the hearing, the Councillors refused to look at my petition because I had not sent it to the Council beforehand. How can this be right? Surely the Councillors should look at all the evidence that is put before them?
A: I don’t know the particular circumstances of your case, or which Council you applied to, but many Councils do ask for any supporting documents to be sent to them in advance of the hearing, and will specify how many days before they would like the documentation to be with them. Should the documentation not be with them within that timeframe, then Councils will often refuse to entertain any documentation which has been sent in late. In your circumstance, you took the petition with you to the hearing, and the Regulations which govern the conduct of hearings under the Licensing Act 2003 make it clear that any documentary evidence can only be relied upon if it is either sent to the Council prior to the hearing or where the evidence is presented at the hearing, with the consent of all parties at the hearing which, I assume, they were not prepared to give.
Even if the objectors did agree, then it is also open to the Councillors to refuse to consider it because of how late it was produced. It is sensible to observe the deadline suggested by the Council and also provide copies to any objectors.
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