Mid Ulster councillors reject proposals to align alcohol and entertainment licences

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The Environment Committee of Mid Ulster council have rejected suggestions that alcohol and entertainment licences be brought into line with each other in their response to DoE’s consultation on entertainment licensing.

The consultation paper was issued by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan and contains 36 proposals and recommendations for amendments to the current legislation.

Alcohol and entertainment licenses are assigned seperately

Alcohol and entertainment licenses are assigned seperately

A number of these proposals were highlighted to the committee by council staff and councillors were asked for their opinion on the first entertainment licensing review in almost 30 years.

Members of the committee voiced concerns that ending entertainment licences at the same time as alcohol licences in bars, clubs and entertainment venues would lead to problems such as mass evacuation at the same time and arguments in the streets.

The committee heard how small premises like those used for pool, snooker and darts would no longer require an entertainment licence under the new proposals.

As well as this, lifetime licences would be done away with, and replaced with a five-year term.

Council staff however, suggested three years would be more suitable due to the nature of premises applying for such a licence, such as nightclubs.

The document also suggested removing the need for admission charges to premises before entertainment licensing legislation would become applicable and the introduction of one-off licences at short notice for small events of no more than 499 people. However, councillors felt the proposed hours of between 9am and 11pm were restrictive.

Another proposal highlighted at the meeting was that councils would no longer have to place public notices in newspapers or local press, but would instead post them online.

The consultation document also suggested a system of fixed penalties for licensing offences and how circuses are to be licenced on a home authority basis where one council issues the licence and relevant conditions, with all others inspecting the circus while in their district to ensure they are adhering to the licence conditions.