Oldham's licence review attracts more flak

09 April 2009 by
Oldham's licence review attracts more flak

Oldham Council's move to order licence reviews of all 22 pubs and clubs in the centre of town continues to draw criticism from the industry.

The authority's trading standards department has proposed the introduction of stringent new conditions for licensed operators in the Yorkshire Street area, following a number of incidents of disorder.

These include making venues pay for police, banning customers ordering more than two drinks per visit to the bar and having an orderly "post office-style" queuing system.

Nick Bish, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, said: "At first sight, it appears that Oldham Council is being vindictive. It is also amazing that trading standards is leading this, if it is supposed to be about crime."

The blanket licence review is open to challenge as, under the Licensing Act (2003), every situation must be judged on its own merits, Bish added.

JD Wetherspoon, which operates two of the 22 pubs, said the decision was inherently unfair and added that it would be discussing the issue with the council.

"Both pubs are managed to very high standards and we have not had issues with the police or licensing authorities in the past," a spokesman said. "We do not believe that a decision made across the board on all pubs is fair as it penalises the well run pubs at the expense of those that are poorly run."

At least two operators affected by the move are believed to be considering a judicial review of the decision.

Oldham orders licence reviews for 22 pubs and clubs >>

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Use enforcement powers, licensing minister tells local authorities >>

Government urged police to use full powers of Licensing Act >>

Councils beginning to crack down on pubs, warn licensing experts >>

By Daniel Thomas

E-mail your comments to Daniel Thomas here.

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