The Live Music Forum

What You Can Do

 


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 Check Your Council's Licensing Register

In September 2009 local musicians, carried out a Survey of the Premises License Register of St Albans Council. Their research exposed numerous, apparently illegal, resrtictions attached to Premises Licenses issued by St Albans Council. These conditions ranged from limits on the frequency of live music events at venues, or even, the genre of live music allowed in the venue.

Part of the problems with the Licensing Act is that different local authorities choose to interpret and apply the legislation in different ways. How strictly does your Council apply the Act ? Do they use the legislation inapproriately ?

You can find out by examining their Register Of Licensed Premises, which every citizen has a right to do at the Council Offices. However, as some of our volunteers have already found, Councils are reluctant to make these documents available for scrutiny. Have they something to hide ?

One Council told our volunteer that there was not such a register and that the job would entail sorting through virtually thousands of pieces of paper. That authority is breaking the law according to Section 8 Schedule 3 of the Licensing Act, where the authority's responsibilities are quite clearly set out. See.....

http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/PDFInformationtobecontainedinlicensingauthorityregister.pdf

So, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you contacting your Council and asking for an appointment to visit their offices and examine the Register and making some notes. Some Councils (St Albans, Barking/Dagenham,Merton, for example) have their Premises Licens Register online so you can do the job in the comfort of your own home, if you are lucky. In my case the register wasn't online but the Council sent me scans of all the licenses on a CD. It takes a little time and perserverance but, at the moment, this information can be useful and it indicates the level of control imposed by different councils.

Please email us if you need any assistance or advice in completing this task and, of course, don't forget to let us know what you manage to find out.

EMAIL US

 

Contacting Your MP

We also need to be thinking about contacting the people who represent us. In the first instance, try contacting your MP (or even MEP).

Also, everyone affected by this legislation has a local Councillor, who, you might have helped to elect. We all have a right to consult them on issues that matter to us. You can even request that they visit your home to discuss your concerns with you.

The problems arising from the legislation may happen in your town and it is your local public servants who'll be responsible for interpreting the legislation. You should be able to influence the policies of your council through your councillors, so, why not have a go.

Look at the example in Colchester, where the local Samba group persuaded the Council to License the whole of the Town Centre for Entertainment, avoiding the neccessity for the Samba group to have to obtain licenses in order to perform. Surely all Councils have a moral responsibility to be equally co-operative with their populations.

So that is the first action that you can take. It doesn't require that much effort and could be both interesting and satisfying to you.

1 Find out who your local Councillor is.

2 Make an appointment to see them.(they may visit you at your house if they live near you)

3 Ask them if they were aware of the legislation and what effect they thought it might have on live music in your area (where he/she was elected !).

4 Ask them if they are aware that many pubs and restaurants are no longer able to have live music performed by somebody playing the piano, for example. Live Music at some Schools, Church Halls and private parties will be illegal unless previously approved by the organisation in which the Councillor is your elected representative.

Ask them if they were aware that, "performances in hospitals and care homes where relatives and friends can attend, organised for a fee by various charities, will be caught by the Act and be licensable for the first time."

5 Ask him/her if he/she is aware that some councils have been found to be over-zealous in their application of the legislation and can they give you a guarantee that yours won't be one of them.

6 Ask them if they will support the Live Music Bill.

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Links

Here is a list of organisations who have voiced their support for our campaign :-

Music Week - http://www.musicweek.com

Music Maker Magazine - http://www.musicmaker.org.uk/

The Manifesto Club - http://www.manifestoclub.com/

The Publican - http://www.thepublican.com/

Pub Gigs.com - http://www.pubgigs.com/

Adopt A Singer - http://www.adoptasinger.com/


E-mail us at,

editor@livemusicforum.co.uk