The NTIA has recently been engaged in a series of workshops in conjunction with the Institute of licensing lead by Sarah Clover of Kings Chamber, discussing and debating alongside many colleagues from the retail licensing sector, local government planners and licensing officers as well as the Home Office.
We were initially tasked with the recognising some of the clear shortcomings in terms of the relationship between licensing and planning at a local level, and how the impact of such a breakdown in a relationship would eventually filter through and affect the NTE and furthermore communities in general, particularly in terms of the current legacy of noise complaints which we are experiencing at the moment.
The House of Lords review suggested quite rightly that there was a breakdown in internal communication and the inconsistent relationship on a local basis was causing an issue in terms of cultural spaces clashing with residential spaces, particularly within inner cities.
There were several questions levied at the government in terms of solution, one of which was the amalgamation of the Licensing and Planning process into one process to save ambiguity or lack of collaboration. Within Coventry, Andrew Walister has been championing a collaborative office space where the two departments work side by side with some fantastic results, suggesting that there is a possibility for the HOL recommendation to work.
For many within the room, this was not an option, although with many admitting it was more to do with clarity and demarcation, as well as what you’re used to! it was clear there must be more debate required to bring the key recommendations forward.
It was somewhat clear also that given the planning consent taking precedent over licensing, that the process should start with planning and then progress once planning has been heard and agreed! For many, this was met with a simple challenge – planning timelines are too long, drawn-out!
From the current discussions, there are some key challenges – The interdepartmental relationships – resource levels – communication infrastructure and the lack of clear guidelines from Government and subsequent lack of direction locally!! the debate rolls on!