Published: 20 March 2017
Q: I own a town centre restaurant which had a licence for tables & chairs on the highway granted under the Highways Act 1980. I submitted a plan with the application showing the layout of the furniture, barriers and heaters. I have recently had issues with customers moving the furniture. Following the first incident, I received a warning letter from the Licensing Authority but there was no further action at the time. Last week, some customers decided to bring some of the furniture from inside the premises and sit in the external area. The Licensing Officer was doing a routine visit and noticed the additional tables and chairs as they were leaving. The Licensing Authority has written to me to confirm that the permission has been revoked. Can they do this? Am I entitled to a hearing to contest their decision?
A: The answer is yes they can revoke the permission and you are not automatically entitled to a hearing to contest the decision under the Highways Act 1980 however, you would need to check the Council’s enforcement policy relating to the grant of the licence and its administration. The Council may make provision for a hearing to consider the proposed revocation. If the Council do not provide you with the opportunity for a hearing, your only other recourse would be to Judicially Review the Council’s decision however, there are very strict time limits and the process can be extremely costly. You would need to weigh up the cost of any litigation against the revenue generated by the external area to determine whether it would be worth pursuing further.
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