§ MR. LUTTRELL (Devon, Tavistock)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that three Magistrates only, sitting as a licensing committee at Guildhall on the 23rd March, granted a provisional full licence for a new public-house at 69, Basinghall Street, in the City of London, although there are already an excess of licensed houses in the neighbourhood, and notwithstanding that a large proportion of the occupiers expressed themselves, by petition, as strongly opposed to the granting of such licence; and whether steps can be taken to prevent the wishes of the inhabitants from being disregarded?
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the applicant for the licence had business relations with one of the Magistrates on the Bench?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. ASQUITH, Fife, E.)
I am not in a position to answer the supplementary question. I am informed by the Magistrates that the provisional licence referred to was granted by four Justices. From the information which I have received it would appear that the grant was opposed by a considerable number of owners and occupiers of premises in Basinghall Street. I am unable, of my own know- 1713 ledge, to say whether there is an excess of licensed houses in the neighbourhood, but I observe that the Vestry of the parish have passed a resolution declaring their opinion that the number of licensed houses in the parish is ample for all necessary purposes of accommodation and refreshment, and deprecating, both upon general and upon special grounds, the grant of a new licence to these premises. I have no jurisdiction in the matter, but I cannot doubt that the Magistrates before whom the provisional licence will come for confirmation will, before confirming the grant, give careful consideration both to the requirements of the neighbourhood and to the wishes of the inhabitants.