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Lord Avebury: The noble Lord said that the operating schedule would not impose great bureaucratic burdens on the small village pub and that for the average size pub the schedule would comprise one or two sides of A4. However, he did not say what would be included in the operating schedule for larger establishments such as big clubs which might hold as many as 1,500 people. Obviously, as he said, there would be more stringent requirements for those establishments. We should like to know what they are. Will the operating schedule for large establishments extend to matters that go beyond what happens within the establishment itself but which are relevant to a local authority's consideration of an application? One obviously assumes that the operating schedule will
Will the operating schedule detail the measures that the relevant enterprise should take to prevent nuisance such as the scattering of litter in its neighbourhood and any other matters connected with the objectives of the Bill, including the reduction of crime and disorder?
Lord Davies of Oldham: The operating schedule relates primarily to what takes place within the premises, the car park attached to the premises and the immediate environment. The noble Lord rightly identifies that for a large business the schedule will be extensive. It will certainly specify hours of opening, areas in which children may be present and areas in which certain kinds of entertainment may take place and so on. Therefore, the schedule will quite rightly be extensive where a wide range of entertainment and activities take place.
However, the schedule will not refer to traffic regulation in the vicinity of the enterprise. The capacity of the car park for those who wish to attend the premises is an important consideration. That goes without saying. However, we cannot go too far in that direction. We cannot investigate circumstances where it is alleged that litter has been dropped by a patron of the relevant premises. It would be impossible to prove that. The operating schedule operates within a framework that is concerned primarily with what takes place within the premises concerned.
Baroness Buscombe: I thank the noble Lord for his response. This debate has been worthwhile given that we are discussing a broad range of premises that are to be considered in relation to the operating schedule. As I said, this is a probing amendment. I shall revert to representatives of the industry to ensure that they are happy with the assurances that the noble Lord has given today. On that basis I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Baroness said: I was in two minds as to whether to move this large group of amendments given the debate that has already taken place in relation to designated premises and licence holders. On balance I have decided to make a brief plea to the Government.
In moving Amendment No. 160, I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 163, 181, 183, 203, 219, 229 to 231, the Question that Clauses 37 to 40 stand part, and to Amendments Nos. 239, 240, 241, 250, 258, 441, 442, 450, 452, 455, 456, 457, 458, 460 and 462.
One of the purposes of the new Bill is to streamline the licensing regime in England and Wales. It achieves that in a number of ways, but in particular by having separate premises and personal licences. That matter has already been debated. The two are connected in that no supply of alcohol may be made from any premises unless there is a premises supervisor who holds a personal licence which has not been suspended. In addition, every supply of alcohol must be made or authorised by a person holding a personal licence. In many respects the position is analogous to vehicle and driving licences. A vehicle must be licensed and can be driven only by someone with a driving licence.
However, unlike the position with a vehicle, a premises licence must specify the designated premises supervisor. If there is a change in the identity of the premises supervisor, an application must be made to the licensing authority for a variation of the premises licence in order to specify another individual. Such an application involves a degree of formality and expense and gives the chief officer of police for the relevant area an opportunity to object to the variation of the premises licence, thereby preventing the appointment of a new premises supervisor.
We believe that that procedure is unnecessarily bureaucratic, given that there is need only for a notice to be given to the licensing authority. Furthermoreand this is the important pointit is unnecessary because the individual concerned would have been vetted and found to be suitable if he has been granted a personal licence. We cannot see any need whatever, therefore, for this further vetting by the chief officer of police. I beg to move.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I have looked at paragraph after paragraph of my speaking notes and I realise that I have said it all already. I hope that the Committee wishes to be spared that repetition. As the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, has not dealt with all the amendments in the group in detail, I hope she will forgive me if I also do not.
However, I want to repeat the simple phrase with which I virtually finished my long speech on Amendment No. 154. Of course it is true that the qualification for holding a personal licence is the fundamental one of being able to serve alcohol. It is also true that the designated premises supervisor declaration does not add much. But, the designation of a premises supervisor tells the police and those who need to know who is in charge. That is why we have it here.
The noble Baroness said: I move Amendment No. 161 standing in the name of my noble friend Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, who is not able to be here. The requirement in Clause 17(4) is that an operating schedule be submitted with each application for a licence. That matter was discussed in relation to Amendment No. 158. It is intended that the operating schedule will set out such detail about how the premises will be operated, including times of opening and closing. I shall not go into that issue because it was covered in Amendment No. 158.
The purpose of Amendment No. 161 is to change the position. Instead of a centrally prescribed form, local authorities would have the right to decide. In response to Amendment No. 158, the noble Lord said:
The schedule will be an important document for both the licensing authority determining the application and for those who will have to consider whether they will be affected by the operation and may wish to object. There will be no other information available on which to understand when and how the licence will be operated.
Again, in reply to Amendment No. 158, the Minister said exactly that; that without the schedule the local authority would not have the necessary information. He also said that the Bill was intended to create a less onerous system. I do not think that is correct. Less onerous for whom? Certainly, at the moment it is not less onerous for the local authority because the burden is on the licensing court. All that will be transferred to the local authority.
I consider that the Government's proposal in this clausethat this document and the information required on it will be prescribed centrally by their officials and that no other form will be acceptable, whether the application is to operate in Eastbourne,
If applicants believe that a request for information of a certain nature is unreasonable or unlawful, they can say so. If necessary, they can challenge the matter in the courts. I think that local authorities should be able to set out their own requirements for information they require. I beg to move.
Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts: I hope my noble friend will forgive me, but I have some difficulty with what is proposed. Having very different forms in different parts of the country, perhaps in adjacent local authorities, and the possibility that local authorities might change the nature of the form from time to time, would make it enormously burdensome for companies that operate a range of public houses or licensed premises. Some standard format is essential if there is not to be an unreasonable burden on multiple licensed premises' operators.
Within Clause 17, in particular in subsections (3) and (4), there is more than enough latitude for a local authority to obtain whatever it wishes. I am sorry, but I think that it would be potentially incredibly burdensome and bureaucratic for local authorities to be able to sail away pursuing their own particular requirements for information in respect of premises licences.
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