|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, the scheme of these amendments is, first, to consolidate the definitions of "authorised persons", "interested parties" and "responsible authorities" into one new clause; that is done in Amendment No. 250, which replaces the existing definitions in Clauses 13 and 68. The Minister said a few minutes ago that simplicity is something that we should value. I hope that at least the concept of the amendment will be welcome to the Government.
I hope that the Minister will pay a little attention to what I am saying. Since I am quoting her, she might pay attention to me. The concept of the amendments is to consolidate the definitions into one single definition and to avoid the duplication that is currently in Clauses 13 and 68.
Secondly, the meaning of "authorised person" is extended to any officer of the local authority who is authorised by it for the purposes of the licensing objectives. That would enable the amendment to Clause 18, which ensures that an assessment by an authorised person and the consequent satisfaction of the licensing authority that the likely effect of the grant of the application would be to enhance the promotion of the licensing objectives are preconditions for the award of the premises licence. Although the noble Baroness earlier today again said that the promotion of the licensing objectives underpins the Bill, the functions of an authorised person and the responsible authority as the Bill is currently drafted are far more limited than that. We do not have a direct connection between licensing objectives and the actual mechanics of the Bill, which I seek to insert.
The amendment to Clause 51 similarly ties a review to an assessment by an authorised person showing that the licensed activities enhance the promotion of the licensing objectives. We have the promotion of the licensing objectives written into the mechanics of the Bill and the functions of the authorised person and local authority. The local authority is made the "responsible authority" where it has any statutory functions exercisable in any area in which the premises are situated, in relation to the licensing objectives and not merely in relation to a subset of the licensing objectivesthat is how the Bill is currently drafted.
"Interested party" would be amended to persons and businesses in the "neighbourhood" rather than the "vicinity". That is because, so far as I am aware, there is no definition of "vicinity" anywhere in statute. The noble Baroness will correct me if I am wrong. The word "neighbourhood" is used in, for instance, the Licensing Act 1988, the Health and Social Care Act 2001, the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and a large number of statutory instruments. The courts would have less difficulty interpreting the word "neighbourhood" than when dealing with the new and untried concept of "vicinity".
I have also taken the opportunity of having only one set of persons in the navigation authority supervising licensable activities and another supervising qualifying club activities, instead of the two sets of persons, as the Bill is currently drafted.
The amendments to Clause 106 eliminate the "authorised officers" of the licensing authority, and use the same "authorised persons" who are to conduct the assessments under Clause 18, as amended, to assess the likely effect of a temporary event concerned with crime and disorder. I beg to move.
Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, I do not propose to speak in support of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, although I support what he said. Four of the amendments grouped with this amendmentAmendments Nos. 188 to 191are in my name and I hope that they will be supported.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for setting out the structure of this group of amendments. He rightly said that the most obvious effect of the amendments would be to remove Clauses 13 and 68that would be done by Amendments Nos. 55 and 135and replace them, through Amendment No. 250, with the new clause after Clause 187 in Part 9 of the Bill, which deals with miscellaneous matters.
Clauses 13 and 68 set out the meaning of "authorised persons", "interested parties" and "responsible authorities" in two places deliberately. One is the premises licences part of the Billthat is, Clause 13and one is the club section of the Bill, or Clause 68. I refer to Parts 3 and 4 of the Bill.
It is entirely deliberate that the Bill is repetitive in that sense. It is because the Government recognise the importance of the club tradition in England and Wales and the fact that different considerations apply in respect of clubs, which are essentially private premises, that the Bill seeks to preserve the distinction between them and those using other premises. The Bill seeks to reflect the fact that clubs attract different considerations and therefore makes different provisions for them. If we were going to adopt the structure of this group of amendments, as the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, described it, we should do that far more widely than in relation to this point. We should in effect wipe out the special consideration of clubs. I wonder whether those who advised the noble Lord have thought of that.
Clubs attract different considerations and we make different provisions for them. They must meet a series of conditions to qualify for authorisation under club premises certificates. That is why they are dealt with separately in Part 4. Where possible and where appropriate, that involves the same conditions as have been applied to licensed premises and qualifying clubs. But that is not always the case, and those who are responsible for clubs have made that clear to us. We should be very sorry to lose that distinctionit would damage a significant part of the structure of the Bill.
In making the change to wipe out the distinction between premises licences and club licences, significant changes are then made in Amendment No. 250. The most significant of those was referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, who seeks to replace the term
The term "vicinity", in an unqualified form, was chosen deliberately to ensure that those who are likely to be affected by individual applications can have a say in those applications. However, those who are simply interested in an application without having an interest in it do not have a similar right. That is not the same as the legislative examples which the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, quoted. "Vicinity" is a term that will be interpreted on a case-by-case basis. It will not exclude individuals who live a few streets away from the premises and are affected by the application from making representations. And, under certain circumstances, it could be interpreted to cover a neighbourhood or district if the case warranted that breadth of scope. It is chosen because it will allow for the circumstances of each application to be taken into account. That is what the licensing authority will do.
There is a further effect of extending the definitions of "authorised persons", as set out in Clause 13(2)(d), Clause 13(4)(d), Clause 68(2)(d) and Clause 68(4)(d). But, to some extent, that has been pre-empted by the decision of your Lordships in relation to the previous amendment, and I shall not go into that any further.
The additional amendments are concerned with right of entry. As they were not spoken to, as I understand it, by either the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, or the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, I shall, with their permission, not refer to them.
Back to Table of Contents
Lords Hansard Home Page