Licensing Policy passed

The Licensing Policy for the London Borough of Merton was adopted at an Extraordinary Council Meeting on Wednesday 5 January 2005.

Merton’s Licensing Policy was put together following the Government’s reforms of licensing legislation which mean that local councils will be responsible for the licensing of premises and persons involved in the sale or supply of alcohol, rather than the Courts.

The council had initially produced a draft policy and asked residents, businesses and ‘responsible authorities’ for feedback over a 12-week period, which ended in November 2005. They then undertook further consultation on the Cumulative impact section of its Draft Licensing Policy after the Police provided crime statistics for September 2003 to August 2004 for Wimbledon Town Centre.

Cumulative impact is the potential impact of saturation, and how having too many licensed premises in a given area might lead to problems of nuisance and disorder. The council did not initially intend to adopt a special policy with regards to cumulative impact. However after looking at the crime statistics from the Police and listening to feedback from residents they reviewed the proposals and have adopted two cumulative impact zones in Wimbledon Town Centre and Wimbledon Village.

The adoption of these zones within the policy will enable the council to consider restricting the number of licensed premises that are allowed in these areas in order to reduce and prevent problems of crime, disorder and nuisance which can be caused by alcohol influenced behaviour.

Councillor Martin Whelton, Chair of the Licensing Committee, said: ‘I welcome the passing of the Licensing Policy by the council. The policy provides a clear and robust statement of the how Licensing applications will be considered when Licensing is transferred to the council later this year. I also welcome the inclusion of cumulative impact zones for Wimbledon town centre and Wimbledon Village which address many of the concerns that local residents and police have about alcohol related disorder and public nuisance in those areas.’

The final Licensing Policy Statement must be published by 7 January 2005. It will be available on the website at Copies of the document will also be available in large print or translations upon request.

From the 7 February 2005 a transitional period will come into operation and it will be during this period that applicants will be making their applications for those licences that will be required under the new legislation. The new regim