We feel we must dispel some misapprehensions on the part of the town’s MP in relation to her reported remarks on the front page of the Observer about a recent licensing sub-committee decision.
Firstly, the licensing function is quasi-judicial and not political but, unfortunately, politicians, particularly high profile ones, talking about ‘a huge misjudgement’ make it sound as if politics drives licensing decisions.
Members on a sub-committee hearing an application such as the one in question must be guided by four licensing principles, as laid down in the Licensing Act 2003, they must listen carefully to the evidence provided by the police, licensing and environmental health officers, the applicant and objectors.
Most importantly, in coming to their decision they must provide reasons for it such that if the decision were appealed at the magistrates’ court it would stand up to scrutiny and our licensing committee has a proud and impeccable record in this respect. It is to be noted that in this case the decision was not appealed. Finally, it is not the role of the sub-committee making a decision to then ‘reconsider’ it, as Ms Rudd would have them do.
There is a process for a licensed premise to be reviewed, once it has started operating, and any of the authorities – police, fire service, council officers – can call for a review, as indeed can members of the public.
Cllr Dominic Sabetian
Cllr Alan Roberts
Hastings Borough Council
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