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Council to stop consulting neighbours on alcohol licensing because it causes “confusion”

Knowsley residents will no longer be consulted on their neighbours’ bids for alcohol licences because it is causing “confusion”, the council has said.

Knowsley Council currently writes to all businesses and residents within 50m of any premises applying for a licence to sell alcohol, telling them about the application and asking for their views.

But in a change to licensing policy set to be approved by the council on Wednesday (December 9), the council has proposed abandoning this sort of consultation.

Explaining the change, a council officers’ report said it was “considered unnecessary” due to licensing applications being published online and elected councillors being informed about applications in their wards.

The officers’ report added: “Removing this requirement would also address some confusion in the existing process as residents outside a 50m radius sometimes complain that they have not been consulted or have been excluded from a consultation by virtue of how far away they live when in fact anybody is entitled to make comments on any application. This 50m approach process is not followed by any other neighbouring local authority, or indeed any other local authority of which the council is aware.”

There is no statutory requirement to consult residents within a certain distance of a licensing applicant, but this is an extra step that Knowsley has undertaken until now.

Premises applying for alcohol licences will still be required to display a notice on blue paper in a prominent position outside the business.

A council spokesperson said: “Consulting people within a certain radius of a property on a premises licence application isn’t a legal requirement and the 50m was an arbitrary distance introduced locally in the 1980s under a policy that was superseded by the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003. Our proposed new licensing policy will still afford all residents and businesses the opportunity to make representations on an application. The new policy goes beyond the basic statutory requirements for consultation as all applications are also published on the council’s website and the ward councillors for the area where the premise is located are consulted. In recent years, the practice of consulting residents within the 50m radius has led to some confusion for residents living beyond the 50m limit who felt that they were not able to object to an application. The new policy has been subject to an extensive consultation exercise and there have been no objections or comments raised in relation to the proposal to remove this practice from our licensing policy. It will also bring Knowsley into line with the other city region licensing authorities. We are dedicated to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our residents, communities and businesses and our proposed new measures ensure we continue to protect these interests.”

 

Article originally appeared on Liverpool echo.

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