• cumulative impact is the potential impact on the promotion of the licensing objectives of a significant number of licensed premises concentrated in one area. For example, the potential impact of crime and disorder or public nuisance on a town centre due to a concentration of licensed premises
  • cumulative impact must not be confused with ‘need’. 'Need' concerns the commercial demand for another licensed premises, which is a matter for the marketplace and the Council’s Planning Committee. 'Need' is not a matter the Council will have regard to when discharging its licensing functions
  • where the Council receives satisfactory evidence that the cumulative impact of a concentration of licensed premises in a specified area is undermining the promotion of the licensing objectives, it may adopt a special policy in respect of that area. However, the absence of a special policy does not prevent any responsible authority or other person making representations on applications for new licences, or material variations of an existing licence, on the grounds that the application will give rise to a negative cumulative impact on one or more of the licensing objectives
  • once adopted, special policies should be reviewed regularly to assess whether they are needed any longer or if those which are contained in the statement of licensing policy should be amended
  • special policies may apply to the impact of a concentration of any licensed premises, including those licensed for the sale of alcohol on or off the premises, and premises licensed to provide late night refreshment

Review of Special Policies

  • in April 2007, having identified three areas of the Borough as being subject to ‘cumulative impact’, the Council adopted ‘saturation polices’ in respect of Bexleyheath Town Centre, Welling Town Centre and Bexley Village. In October 2014, the licensing authority undertook to review ‘cumulative impact’ in order to ascertain if:
    • the three ‘saturation policies’ remained necessary
    • and, any other areas of the Borough are subject to ‘cumulative impact’
  • the review identified that Bexleyheath Town Centre and Welling Town Centre continued to be subject to ‘cumulative impact’, whilst Bexley Village did not. Furthermore, no other area of the Borough was identified as being subject to ‘cumulative impact’

Adoption and Effect of ‘Saturation Policy’ - Bexleyheath and Welling Town Centres

  • the Council has received evidence that the cumulative impact of licensed premises in Bexleyheath and Welling Town Centres is undermining the promotion of the licensing objectives; and after considering this evidence and carrying out an extensive consultation exercise, which included all persons set out in section 5 of the Act, has adopted a special ‘saturation policy’ in respect of these areas. The boundaries of each area to which this ‘saturation policy’ applies are identified on the maps attached in Appendix A to the Policy
  • the evidence for the adoption of the ‘saturation policy’ in respect of Bexleyheath and Welling Town Centres can be found in this section
  • the effect of the ‘saturation policy’ in respect of Bexleyheath and Welling Town Centres is that the Council will refuse applications for a new licence, or material variations of an existing licence, where the variation sought is relevant to saturation policy, whenever it receives relevant representation unless an applicant can demonstrate why the operation of the premises involved will not add to the cumulative impact already being experienced
  • the adoption of the ‘saturation policy’ for Bexleyheath and Welling Town Centres does not relieve responsible authorities or other persons of the need to make a relevant representation. Therefore, in order for the Council to lawfully consider giving effect to its ‘saturation policy’ a relevant
    representation must have been made. Where no representations are received, it remains the case that any application must be granted in terms that are consistent with the operating schedule and any mandatory conditions required by the Act
  • where responsible authorities and other persons make written representations, maintaining that it is necessary to refuse an application that falls within Bexleyheath or Welling Town Centre they may refer to the evidence considered by the Council in the adoption of the ‘saturation policy’
  • applicants in respect of premises situated in Bexleyheath and Welling Town Centres will need to address the implications of the ‘saturation policy’ in their operating schedules in order to rebut the presumption to refuse the application

Limitation of ‘Saturation Policy’ - Bexleyheath and Welling Town Centres

  • the Council will not use the ‘saturation policy’:
    • as grounds for revoking an existing licence when relevant representations are received about problems with those premises. This is because a review must relate specifically to individual premises, and by its nature “cumulative impact” relates to the effect of a concentration of many premises
    • to refuse applications to vary an existing licence, except where the modifications are directly relevant to the ‘saturation policy’ and are necessary for the promotion of the licensing objectives. The ‘saturation policy’ would however be considered, where a variation application is for a significant increase in the capacity limits of a premises and relevant representations are made
  • every application will be considered on its own merits and, given this, the ‘saturation policy’ does not include provisions for terminal hours in respect of premises in Bexleyheath and Welling Town Centres, nor does it impose quotas on the number of licensed premises permitted or the capacity of those premises

Other mechanism for Controlling Cumulative Impact

  • the Council recognises that there are other mechanisms both within and outside the licensing regime available for addressing the cumulative effect of licensed premises, which may include:
    • planning controls
    • positive measures to provide a safe and clean town centre environment in partnership with local businesses, transport operators and other departments of the Council
    • the provision of CCTV surveillance in town centres, taxi ranks, provision of public conveniences open late at night, street cleaning and litter patrols
    • the Council’s power to designate parts of the Borough as places where alcohol may not be consumed publicly
    • police enforcement of the general law with regard to disorder and antisocial behaviour, including the issue of fixed penalty notices
    • prosecution for the offence of selling alcohol to people who are drunk (or allowing such a sale)
    • police powers to close down instantly for up to 24 hours (extendable to 48) any licensed premise or temporary event on the grounds of disorder, the likelihood of disorder or noise emanating from the premises causing a nuisance
    • the power of police, other responsible authority, local residents and local businesses to seek a review of the licence or certificate in question
    • raising a contribution to policing the late night economy through the
    • late Night Levy
    • early Morning Alcohol Restriction Orders
    • and, other local initiatives that similarly address these problems.