Licence objections or reviews

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

3. Request review of Premises Licence or Club Premises Certificate

This web page explains what a review is, how and when to apply for one, and the process that follows.

If you are considering applying for a review, please read the guidance notes on this web page first and contact the licensing team by emailing licensing@gravesham.gov.uk if you require any clarification or further advice.

What is a review?

Occasionally, things may go wrong once a premises licence or club premises certificate has been granted.

At any stage, following the grant of a premises licence or club premises certificate, a responsible authority, or any other person, may ask (apply to) the council to review the licence or certificate because of a matter arising at the premises in connection with any of the four licensing objectives.

  • The prevention of crime and disorder
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • The protection of public safety
  • The protection of children from harm

The ability to review a premises licences and club premises certificates represents a key protection for the community where problems associated with the licensing objectives occur after the grant or variation of a premises licence or club premises certificate by allowing the Licensing Panel to look at the licence again.

When can I apply for a review?

Reviews should usually take place when all other reasonable attempts to resolve a problem informally have failed.

In some cases, it may be more appropriate for a problem to be dealt with by other means or another service.

We would therefore recommend that you discuss any concerns with the Licensing Team for advice before applying for a review. You can email them at licensing@gravesham.gov.uk

Could my application be rejected?

Yes. Upon receiving an application, the licensing authority has to determine if the complaint being made is relevant (to the licensing objectives), frivolous, vexatious or repetitious.

If it considers that the complaint is not relevant to the licensing objectives or that it is frivolous, vexatious or repetitious, the application will be rejected. Anonymous applications can also not be accepted.

A representation may be considered to be vexatious if it appears to be intended to cause aggravation or annoyance, whether to a competitor or other person, without reasonable cause or justification.

Frivolous representations would essentially be categorised by a lack of seriousness. They may, for example, concern issues which, at most, are minor and in relation to which no remedial steps would be warranted or proportionate.

A repetitious ground is one that is identical or substantially similar to:

  • a ground for review in an earlier application which has already been determined
  • representations considered by the licensing authority when the premises licence or certificate was granted; or
  • representations made when the application for the premises licence was first made and which were excluded then by reason of the prior issue of a provisional statement

Licensing authorities are expected to be aware of the need to prevent attempts to review licences merely as a further means of challenging a previously failed application. Whilst each case will be considered on its merits, a period of at least 12 months will ordinarily therefore be required to have passed between applications.

What can I do if my application is rejected?

Any person who is aggrieved by a rejection of their representations on either of these grounds may lodge a complaint through the local authority’s corporate complaints procedure.

What happens after an application for a review has been submitted and accepted?

We will publish notices about the application for review on our website, at the Civic Centre, and at the premises subject to the review for 28 days, during which anyone who wishes to make representations will be able to do so.

What happens after the consultation period?

We will hold a hearing to consider the application, unless all parties agree that this is unnecessary.

We will write to you with details of the hearing, along with details of the information you will need to provide us before the hearing. You must let us know as soon as possible (by written notice no later than 24 hours before the start of a hearing, or orally at the hearing) if you want to withdraw your application.

Hearings

Hearings will generally be held in public, at the Civic Centre, unless we decide it is in the public interest to hold all, or part of the hearing in private. We will ensure that a record is taken of the hearing.

Hearings will normally take the form of an evidence-based discussion and enquiry, led by the Licensing Sub-Committee (or ‘Panel’), which consists of three elected councillors.

A hearing can still go ahead in the absence of any party.

What happens after a hearing?

If no decision is made at the hearing, the Sub-Committee has a maximum of 5 days from the day or the last day of the hearing to come to a decision. Following a review, a licensing authority may:

  • Decide that no action is necessary to promote the licensing objectives
  • Modify or add conditions to the licence
  • Exclude a licensable activity from the licence
  • Remove the Designated Premises Supervisor
  • Suspend the licence for a period (not exceeding 3 months)
  • Revoke the licence

Both the licensee and the objectors can appeal to Magistrates' Court against a decision made by the Licensing Panel within 21 days of a decision being made.

Other things to consider when seeking a review

  • Although it is not necessary, it may be helpful to get the backing of other people affected by the issue(s) being complained about and/or support from appropriate responsible authorities.
  • The decision that the Licensing Panel take will be based on the evidence they have seen and heard. It is therefore very important to ensure that you will be able to provide clear and reliable evidence at a hearing.
  • Where a large group of people wish to review a licence collectively, for example a group of residents, it is helpful for a spokesperson to be nominated who we can communicate with about the hearing etc. and who would be willing to speak on behalf of the applicants.
  • You can ask someone such as an MP or Local Councillor to represent you at the review. It would be a matter for them to decide whether to agree to your request. They are not obliged to do so. If they do decide to assist there is no requirement for them to live in the vicinity of the premises in question for them to be able to make representations on behalf of the residents that do. It is most important to note that Councillors who are part of the Licensing Panel that will hear the review will not be able to discuss the application outside of the formal hearing, so it is suggested that you do not approach them to try to do so.
  • You should be able to demonstrate that there has been disturbance over a period because if you only refer to one or two incidents a licensee may argue that they were isolated problems that can be rectified without a review.
  • It should be noted that conditions attached to licences cannot seek to manage the behaviour of customers once they are beyond the direct management if the licence holder and their staff, but can directly impact on the behaviour of those under their direction when on their premises or in the immediate vicinity of the premises as they seek to enter or leave.
  • If your complaints relate to general noise or disorder on the streets in the area you will have to show how it directly relates to the specific premises you are seeking a review of.
  • Finally, have a good idea of how you would like the situation to be resolved.

How can I apply for a review?

To apply to review a licence, you will need to complete the application form and email it to licensing@gravesham.gov.uk or post it to Licensing Team, Gravesham Borough Council, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1AU.

Please also email us at this address for any further advice.

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