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Advice for residents

We know that businesses that provide licensable activities have the potential to cause a number of problems for local residents and other nearby businesses, if they do not act responsibly and in accordance with their licences.

Complaining about a premises

We will investigate complaints about licensed premises who are alleged to be operating in breach of the terms and conditions of their licences, and about unlicensed premises where licensable activities are believed to be carried on. Where breaches of licences or of the licensing laws are identified, we will seek to take appropriate enforcement action against those responsible, which may include the possibility of prosecuting them for an offence.

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  • More information about complaining

    If you are being affected by the operation of licensed premises, or wish to report unlicensed activities or breaches of the terms and conditions of a licence, please contact us with details, and we will investigate your complaint.

    Where appropriate, we will take action to try to remedy the issue, ranging from giving informal advice to prosecuting for a criminal offence.

    Complaints can be made:

    • by email, to licensing@dacorum.gov.uk, or
    • by letter, to Licensing, Dacorum Borough Council, The Forum, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP1 1DN.

    There are some matters which we would advise you to report to other bodies and departments in the first instance:

    • Issues relating to crime or serious disorder should be reported to Hertfordshire Constabulary, or to your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team.
    • Ongoing anti-social behaviour can be investigated by our Anti-social behaviour team.
    • Issues relating to planning consent should be reported to Planning. Licensing and Planning operate as separate regulatory regimes, and businesses carrying on licensable activities will require both a licence and appropriate planning consent before they are legally entitled to operate.
    • While the Licensing Act 2003 does include public safety and public nuisance within its remit, it is not the primary legislation in respect of these issues. In the first instance, issues should be reported to either Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, or our Environmental Health team, as appropriate.
    • Any issues relating to fire safety are now controlled under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which is enforced by the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

    If a licensed premises has been causing issues for a prolonged period, it may be worthwhile considering applying for the licence to be reviewed. Please see the Applying for Reviews section below for more information. As part of the review process, you will usually need to show the extent of the problems you have experienced. Keeping a diary of incidents and complaints made to the council or police may help with this.

Making representations

When applications are made for new licences, or to vary or review existing licences, you can get involved in the application process by making representations about the application, regardless of whether you support or oppose the proposal. All relevant representations are taken into consideration before a decision is made on whether or not to grant an application.

You can see details of the applications we are currently consulting on by visiting our current applications page.

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  • More information about making representations

    All applications for new licences or club certificates, or to vary or review existing licences or certificates, are subject to public consultation, and any person is entitled to make a representation in respect of the application whether or not they live in the vicinity of the premises. Representations may also be made by any responsible authority, such as the police, fire service, environmental health or trading standards.

    Public notices, printed on blue paper at least A4 in size, will be displayed at or near any premises which is the subject of a licence application, and will briefly set out the details of the application. Details will also be published in a local newspaper, and shown on our current applications page.

    In order to be considered as relevant, and taken into account when the application is determined, representations must:

    • be made in writing (either as a letter or an email),
    • include your name and address,
    • set out how the application will affect one or more of the licensing objectives (preventing crime and disorder, public safety, public nuisance, protection of children from harm),
    • be specifically related to the premises in question and the activities they have applied to carry on (any irrelevant matters may have to be disregarded),
    • be received within the statutory time period.

    For most applications, representations must be received by the licensing authority within 28 days of the day on which the application was made. Certain application types have shorter time frames – in all cases, the last date for making a representation will be listed on our current applications page.

    Representations should be sent:

    • by email to licensing@dacorum.gov.uk or
    • by post to Licensing, Dacorum Borough Council, The Forum, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP1 1DN

    Wherever possible, your representation should be backed up by suitable evidence of any issues you are experiencing – for example, diary sheets, photographs, video clips, or details of calls you have made to appropriate regulatory bodies. If there is no evidence to support your representations, the Licensing of Alcohol and Gambling Sub-Committee will, when considering the application and representations received, have to attach less weight to your assertions than if they can be fully substantiated.

    Hearings

    If we receive one or more relevant representations in respect of an application, it will be referred to be considered by our Licensing of Alcohol and Gambling Sub-Committee at a public hearing. The applicant and all other persons who have made relevant representations will be invited to attend the hearing and address the Sub-Committee, and further advice will be sent out with the invitations. Invited speakers may choose to address the Sub-Committee themselves, or to nominate a proxy speaker (for instance, a ward councillor). Where a number of people have made similar representations, it may be worthwhile nominating a single spokesman to address the Sub-Committee.

    After hearing from all parties, the Committee will make its decision in respect of the application, and may grant it, add extra conditions or restrictions, or refuse the application. All parties will have a right of appeal against the decision.

Reviewing a licence

From time to time, it may not be possible to resolve an issue through complaints or enforcement action. If all other actions have been exhausted, it is possible to apply for a licence to be reviewed. This process may lead to the licence being amended (to remove an activity causing a particular problem, or to add further conditions), or even suspended or revoked.

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  • More information about reviewing a licence
    We work together with responsible authorities, such as the police and Environmental Health, to ensure that premises with premises licenses and club premises certificates operate within the law. However, if there is a problem at a premises that cannot be resolved by enforcement or mediation, then a request can be made to review the licence.

    Reviews can be requested by any responsible authority, or the licensing authority, or any other persons, such as residents or businesses, and there is no application fee. Once an application for review has been received a 28-day consultation period will begin, and a notice on light blue paper will be placed both at our offices, and in a prominent position at or near the premises that is being reviewed, giving details of the reason for review, and the closing date for representations.

    Representations can be made by anyone, either supporting the review or opposing it but should relate to the four licensing objectives: the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

    Following the closing date of the consultation period, the application to review and any representations received will be heard at a meeting of the Licensing of Alcohol and Gambling Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee can decide whether to amend the licence (for example, adding further operating conditions), or to suspend the licence, or revoke it.

    You can download the application form for applying for a licence to be reviewed, and further guidance notes on the process of making an application, on our application forms page.