What are Cumulative Impact Policies?
According to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill – March 2011 – “Cumulative Impact Policies were introduced as a tool for licensing authorities to limit the growth of licensed premises in a problem area.”
Last week saw the 10-year anniversary of the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003 – a regime supposedly aimed to invite a cafe culture, but widely credited with creating a ’24-hour drinking culture’.
In recent years Local Authorities have been placed under increasing pressure to limit the number of licensed premises in certain areas – usually town centres. Many authorities wish to limit the operators of night clubs, pubs, bars, restaurants and take-aways, as these are seen to be having a detrimental effect on the areas in which they trade.
Cumulative Impact Zone!
Many Local Authorities now employ ‘Cumulative Impact Zones’, a specific area in which there is a presumption that applications for new licences (or some variations of existing ones) will be refused. A refusal will only be triggered by a representation made against the application however, applicants have a slim chance of success if they can demonstrate that there will be no negative cumulative impact on one or more of the licensing objectives.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons many responsible authorities now opt to make representations in respect of all new applications, even if to simply add uncontested conditions to the prospective new licence.
Certain Local Authorities which I deal with have even gone as far as to employ ‘red-zones’ (areas with an existing high number of licensed premises) where the burden to overcome is even greater.
These policies are by no means a measure of total prevention in respect of new licences and are certainly rebuttable. However, those applying in Cumulative Impact Zones are well advised to seek professional legal opinion in respect of their application both before and after submitting.
If you are considering applying for a new (or varying an existing) premises licence you can contact Ed Smith, a Solicitor the Levi Solicitors Licensing Department, on 0113 244 9931, or arrange a call back with our solicitors in Wakefield & Leeds.