Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Ninth Report


Memorandum by the British Resorts Association

The British Resorts Association represents 56 UK Local Authorities with substantial tourism interest, the majority of these authorities are in England and Wales. A membership list is attached at Annex A for your information. Throughout our consideration of this and the previous consultations on the same issue we paid specific attention to our tourism remit. However, we have also taken a broader view on issues relating to general local authority responsibilities and in particular, the very obvious need to protect residents from potential nuisance.

In 1995 the Association supported attempts to deregulate The Sunday Observance Act 1780 and associated elements of the Licensing Act 1964. We believed then and continue to believe now that entertainment venues should be able to charge for admission to public dances on Sunday, and that as a consequence, they should also have the opportunity to obtain Special Hours Certificates or Extended Hours Orders, which if granted would permit the sale of alcohol beyond 10.30 pm on Sunday. The tourism and leisure arguments of: increasing the operating week, enhancing Bank Holiday and long weekend trade, maximising an already seasonal market, and countering the somewhat staid image of the domestic market compared to comparative overseas destinations all remain extant. A copy of the main text of our 1995 response is attached at Annex B.

Logically the next best option would be to allow application for variation immediately an Order is passed and delay national implementation to a date which gives businesses and licensing authorities adequate time to react. Defining what constitutes as an adequate period is difficult, but we would suggest that a period of no less than 8 working weeks and probably something more like 12 working weeks is needed. There are two specific unknowns which confuse the issue; how many premises will apply immediately and what local notification or consultation is necessary to "take into account the special nature of Sunday"? We would be prepared to accept that a much longer period may be required if those administrating the system thought it necessary.

The alternative of simply changing the law and allowing each local licensing authority to sort out the problems appears potentially chaotic and critically counter productive in PR terms. If the transition is not properly managed it will turn a very positive Government action into a potential PR nightmare at both the local and national level.

In summary the Association fully supports the Government's proposals to:

  • Amend the Sunday Observance Act 1780 to exempt music and dancing from the scope of that Act
  • Amend the Licensing Act 1964 to allow alcohol to be sold under a special hours certificate on Sundays:

    1. In licensed premises where music and dancing takes place
    2. In registered members clubs and casinos.

Amend the Licensing Act 1964 to allow restaurants selling alcohol under an extended hours order to do so on Sundays

September 1999


 
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