The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Thursday 8th March 2007 - Are musicians' views relevant?


One of the Licensing Act's main selling points has been that it gives local residents a greater say in licensing decisions.

So, what representations can musicians make if they believe their council is proposing unreasonably restrictive conditions on a local venue applying to have live music?

The answer seems to be: 'None'.

A DCMS spokesperson confirmed yesterday:

' There is no provision [under the Licensing Act 2003] which "allows" such representations. But there is equally nothing in the Act which prevents a person making such a representation. However, the only representations which the licensing authority are obliged by law to take into account must be "relevant". This means that they must relate to one or more of the four licensing objectives: crime and disorder, public safety, public nuisance and protection of children. The opinion of a local person who happens to be a musician about the likely effects of licence conditions on live music as such would not of itself be a "relevant" representation because it would not relate to the licensing objectives.' However, the spokesperson suggested that it may be possible for a musician to make representations if a venue's live music licence is later reviewed:

'... a representation by a local musician that live music at the venue in question was not a source of nuisance as alleged in an application for review of the licence would be a relevant representation. In other words, representations regarding live music may be ‘relevant' in terms of the Act depending on the their connection to the licensing objectives and the circumstances of the particular case.'

Hamish Birchall