Was Calderdale Licensing Subcommitttee in breach of Council’s own licensing policy?

This is a genuine question to which, at the time of writing, UCV Plain Speaker didn’t know the answer.

Now, thanks to the wonders of social media, Dave Taylor, a Green Councillor in York, has provided an answer. In short, the answer is no. The reason why is outlined below, in the section “York Councillor Dave Taylor comes up with the answers”.

The question arose because UCV Plain Speaker was in search of reasons why, at the Calderdale Licensing Subcommittee meeting on 13th February 2014, the Chair and the Calderdale Council Solicitor repeatedly refused to allow various objections from Hebden Bridge residents to the Sainsbury’s Local alcohol licence application for its as-yet non-existent Valley Road store,

As already reported, the Chair and the Calderdale Council Solicitor announced that many of the residents’ objections were were not allowable within the procedural framework and Home Office guidelines on alcohol licensing.

The disallowed objections were mostly about the fact that Hebden Bridge has known problems associated with alcohol consumption, particularly by teenagers, and that another store selling alcohol from 7am to 11pm 7 days a week, and in a residential area, would cause more problems of public nuisance, anti-social behaviour and harm to children.

These objections were all disallowed.

However, Calderdale Council’s  alcohol licensing policy  says that the licensing authority will, where appropriate, take into account the cumulative impact of  licensed premises on the promotion of the Licensing Objectives.

Cumulative impact

The policy defines cumulative impact (16.2) as:

“the serious problems of nuisance and disorder that can arise where there is a concentration of premises and reflects the increasing capacity of all those premises taken together and the resulting impact on the surrounding area.”

The Licensing Subcommittee and the Sainsbury’s solicitor made much of the fact that no responsible authority had objected to the application. But the Council’s licensing policy says that the licensing authority can consider representations from “interested parties” as well as “responsible authorities”, regarding the cumulative impact of alcohol licenses in an area.

16.3 of the policy says that if the licensing authority hears from

“a responsible authority or interested party that an area has become saturated with licensed premises, they may if not satisfied that the imposition of conditions would address the issue, consider refusing an application because the grant of such a licene would undermine one of the licencing objectives.”

In response to a request from Hebden Bridge resident Nina Smith that if they did award the licence, they would attach conditions to it, Calderdale Licensing Subcommittee stated that they were unable to attach conditions.

Why, when their rulings apparently go against Calderdale Council’s own licensing policy, did Calderdale Licensing Subcommittee refuse to hear residents’ objections about the cumulative impact of the Sainsbury’s Local application, and also to attach conditions to the licence?

York Cllr Dave Taylor comes up with the answers

Following a shout out for answers to this question, a Green Party York Councillor,Dave Taylor has provided this info, based on his knowledge of how York Council’s Licensing Committee Works:












Information about York’s Cumulative Impact Zone is here.

News about the Police request to extend York’s Cumulative Impact Zone is here.

News about alcohol trouble hotspots across the UK is here. The Daily Telegraph article says,

“Trouble in these areas ranges from fighting and litter to drug dealing, pick pocketing and street robbery. Many of the problem areas are now found in small and previously quiet towns which used to have very few crimes of this nature.
The situation in these areas is considered so serious that councils have special powers to protect the public from further disorder.”

This is the West Yorkshire Police policy on alcohol-related violence and licensing.

Calderdale’s Licensing policy is downloadable here www.calderdale.gov.uk/business/licences/licensingact/licensing-policy.pdf

Updated 17 February with information about how Cumulative Impact Zones work in York, provided by York Councillor Dave Taylor. Many thanks for the info.


One thought on “Was Calderdale Licensing Subcommitttee in breach of Council’s own licensing policy?

  1. Very good point! Sainsbury’s use a Solicitor who specialises in licensing law and knows all the loopholes and ways of getting round Council policies. Maybe it’s about time we went and sought some legal advice regarding this issue ourselves?

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