HC Deb 28 July 1961 vol 645 cc851-64

Lords Amendment: In page 19, line 17, after the words last inserted, insert new Clause A: A.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, in any licensed premises to which section one hundred and four of the Licensing Act, 1953, applies and which are structurally adapted and bona fide used, or intended to be used, for the purpose of habitually providing, for the accommodation of persons frequenting the premises, musical or other entertainment in addition to substantial refreshment as required by that section (the sale and supply of intoxicating liquor being ancillary to that refreshment and entertainment), the time added by that section to the permitted hours on weekdays shall extend until one o'clock in the morning, and during that time the sale, supply and consumption of intoxicating liquor shall not be restricted in accordance with paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (4) of section seven of this Act: Provided that this subsection—

  1. (a) shall not apply to any part of the premises not habitually set apart for the provision of the refreshment and entertainment, nor authorise the sale or supply of intoxicating liquor for consumption in any any such part of the premises or for consumption off the premises; and
  2. (b) shall not authorise any sale or supply of intoxicating liquor on a day on which no entertainment is provided, or at a time after the entertainment or the provision of substantial refreshment has ended, nor any sale or supply not in accordance with paragraph (a) of the said subsection (4) to a person admitted to the premises either after midnight or less than half an hour before the entertainment is due to end; and
  3. (c) shall not affect the permitted hours on Good Friday, or extend beyond midnight the permitted hours on Maundy Thursday or Easter Eve.
(2) Where subsection (1) above applies to any premises or part of premises, nothing in section one hundred of the Licensing Act, 1953, shall prohibit or restrict the consumption in the premises or part during the first half hour after the entertainment ends of intoxicating liquor supplied before it ends. (3) In this section "entertainment" does not include any form of entertainment given otherwise than by persons actually present and performing; and, subject to the provisions of this Act, no premises or part shall be treated for the purposes of this section as used or intended to be used for the purpose of habitually providing refreshment and entertainment, or as habitually set apart for that purpose, unless it is used or intended to be used, or is set apart, for the purpose of providing them after, and for a substantial period preceding, the end of the general licensing hours on every weekday or on particular weekdays in every week, subject to any break for a period or periods not exceeding two weeks in any twelve successive months or on any special occasion Or by reason of any emergency. (4) This section shall not authorise the sale or supply of intoxicating liquor except with the sanction of an order of the licensing justices made on the application of a person applying for or holding a justices' licence for the premises in question, and any such order shall lapse when the licence granted is superseded on renewal or transfer or otherwise ceases to be in force, but may be renewed or varied by a further order under this subsection or be revoked under subsection (8) below. (5) Where the use of any premises or part of premises for the purpose specified in subsection (1) above is, or is intended to be, limited to a particular period or periods of the year, licensing justices may make an order under subsection (4) above to have effect for the whole or part of the period or periods in question, but excluding any period of less than four weeks. (6) Licensing justices may refuse to make an order under subsection (4) above, or may in such an order limit the operation of this section to a particular part of the premises or to particular periods of the year or to particular weekdays or to a time earlier than one o'clock in the morning (and may impose different limitations in relation to different parts of the premises, different periods or different weekdays), if it appears to them reasonable so to do having regard to all the circumstances and in particular to the comfort and convenience of the occupiers and inmates of premises in the neighbourhood. (7) Licensing justices shall not make an order under subsection (4) above unless it is shown that the condition of subsection (1) above as to the use or intended use of the premises is satisfied in relation to the premises or part of premises, to the periods, to the weekdays and to the times for which the order is to have effect, and that the premises or part in question is structurally adapted for the purpose: Provided that licensing justices, in making an order by way of variation or renewal of a previous order may assume unless they see reason to the contrary that the conditions for the making of the previous order were and still are satisfied. (8) Licensing justices shall revoke an order under subsection (4) above if they are satisfied on an application made by or on behalf of the chief officer of police for the police area in which the premises are situated, either—
  1. (a) that use has not been made for the purpose specified in subsection (1) above of the premises or part of premises for which the order has effect; or
  2. (b) that it is expedient to revoke the order either by reason of the occurrence of disorderly or indecent conduct in the premises or part or by reason of the conduct of persons resorting to the premises and any annoyance resulting or likely to result from it to the occupiers or inmates of premises in the neighbourhood or by reason of the premises having been in any respect ill-conducted.
(9) Before making an application for an order under subsection (4) above to be made otherwise than by way of renewal of a previous order (without variation), a person shall give notice of the application to the persons, in the manner and at the times required by paragraph 2 of the Fourth Schedule to this Act on an application for a new justices' licence for the premises; but if through inadvertence or misadventure he fails so to do, sub-paragraph (7) of that paragraph shall apply. (10) Where an order under subsection (4) above is made with respect to any premises or part of premises, the holder of the justices' licence shall within fourteen days give written notice of the making of the order to the chief officer of police, and shall send with the notice a copy of the order; and if he fails so to do he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding ten pounds. (11) The provisions of subsection (6) of section ten of this Act as to the posting of a notice in licensed premises where section one hundred and four of the Licensing Act, 1953, applies shall have effect in relation to this section as they have effect in relation to section one hundred and four; and the reference to section one hundred and four in subsection (4) of section ten of this Act shall include a reference to this section. (12) The powers of licensing justices under this section shall be exercised in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by rules made by the Secretary of State. (13) Where this section applies to any licensed premises or part of licensed premises on a Saturday, nothing in the Sunday Observance Act, 1780, shall apply by reason of the provision there of entertainment (in addition to substantial refreshment) before the time to which the permitted hours on that Saturday may extend by virtue of this section.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Mr. Fletcher

We had a lengthy debate on this point, which arose on an earlier Clause. I think that it would be quite unnecessary, therefore, to repeat those arguments and I do not propose to move the Amendment on the Notice Paper in my name and that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall), in line 31 of the proposed new Clause, to leave out "or Easter" and insert "Easter Eve or Christmas".

Mr. Vosper

This is an Amendment of some substance. It is associated with the new Clause E—(Extended hours in premises of registered clubs)—which I might be allowed to discuss at the same time, and with several consequential Amendments.

The difference between this new Clause and the new Clause E is that this relates to licensed premises and Clause E relates to registered clubs and a different form of procedure, though on the same lines, has to be introduced. This follows an undertaking which I gave to my noble Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel), on Report, that the Government would accept the spirit of his proposal, which was supported on that occasion by hon. Members in all quarters of the House who had been opposing or taking an interest in the Bill.

It is in respect of a proposal sometimes called "the poor man's night life". On previous occasions we discussed premises which could be provided and licensed under a special hours certificate. It has been argued with some justification that the conditions for premises obtaining special hours certificates are very vigorous and lead only to some expensive form of establishment Which cannot be patronised by the ordinary man in the street. If it was thought right to provide late night facilities for tourists, or perhaps for those living on expense accounts, it was thought right to provide for some form of establishment catering for less expensive tastes. That was in the mind of my noble Friend and he introduced an Amendment. I said that if the House was in favour of it the Government would endeavour to introduce something on those lines in another place.

Further safeguards were necessary and it was only reasonable that what my noble Friend proposed in respect of licensed premises and restaurants should apply to clubs. This new Clause carries out that undertaking. It was welcomed on all sides in another place and I therefore hope that it will receive favourable treatment on this occasion.

The Clause enables premises to have an extension until 1 a.m. on condition that they provide music and substantial refreshment to which the sale of liquor is ancillary. The conditions or safeguards which are contained in this somewhat complicated new Clause—and I apologise for that but it is less complicated than the special hours Sections in the original Act—are four. The first is that premises must be of a kind that are able to get an extension under Section 104 of the principal Licensing Act, that is to say, they must be structurally adapted and bona fide used, or intended to be used, for the provision of substantial refreshment to which the supply of liquor is ancillary. That is the first requirement — substantial refreshment must be available.

Secondly, entertainment must be provided. Thirdly, the substantial refreshment must be available not only for the period of extension, that is after the normal closing hours, but for a substantial part before ordinary closing time. It will not be sufficient for licensed premises to serve liquor until 10.30 or 11 p.m. and then put on food to get an extension until 1 a.m. It is necessary to provide food for a considerable part of the day before closing hours. Fourthly, these extensions are discretionary on the part of licensing justices. If they wish, they can refuse them and there is no mandatory provision at all.

There are one or two other important points. Just as in the special hours certificate, if the music stops so must the sale of liquor stop. It is possible for the licensing justices or the magistrates to grant one of these certificates for a period which ends earlier than I am. They could, for example, grant it to midnight. They can vary the date of the week. I see that my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. Wise) is here and I would say to him that they could decide in Rugby that Fridays and Saturdays would be adequate for this provision. They are not bound to grant an extension to 1 a.m. every night of the week.

The certificates must be renewed annually in the case of licensed premises. In the case of registered clubs, the same provision will apply, and where a club, under an Amendment accepted on the Report stage, gets a certificate for a period in excess of one year, it is possible for the magistrates to insist that the special extension shall be renewed annually.

The police can at any time apply for a revocation of the order on the ground of occurrence of disorderly or indecent conduct or because the conduct of persons resorting to the premises results in annoyance to neighbouring residents. It is perfectly open to residents to object to the grant of an extension of this nature. Provision is made both in this Clause and in new Clause E for the public notifying of applications for these extensions.

Those, I think, are the principal safeguards, and they are more or less in line with the safeguards that are applied in other respects in the licensing law, and I believe that they are adequate to prevent abuse of what is quite a considerable extension of the licensing law in this respect.

If I may again refer to my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby, I have accepted his advice that, although entertainment must be provided, one live performer will be sufficient. The Clause does not stipulate, as I suggested on the Report stage, that one should have more than that in the way of entertainment.

As I say, the suggestion of my noble Friend was welcomed in this place, and this new Clause in this form was welcomed without dissension in another place, and I hope that the House will today give it approval as on the earlier occasion.

Mr. Rees-Davies

Will my right hon. Friend deal with one of the particular matters that arose when he gave his undertaking, when I was speaking to the Amendment? As I understood it, the effect of the undertaking was to put the provinces in much the same position as London. There are paeans of praise which one can sing for the greater part of the new Clause, but, frankly, I think there is one aspect which my right hon. Friend has got wrong. The hour specified is 1 a.m. As I understood the undertaking, there was no question of having different hours in the provinces from the hours in London, and, therefore, the discretion of the magistrates would be to 2 a.m.

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that we should change 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.? This is a very small alteration, but it would meet the terms of the undertaking to put the provinces on a reasonable parity with London. As my right hon. Friend has already indicated, that will not in the slightest degree oblige the justices to grant an extension till 2 a.m. or give it on an annual basis. I submit that that would be more nearly in accordance with the general tenor of the undertaking given previously to bring the provinces into line with London on hours. I should be glad if my right hon. Friend could make a few observations about that, because it is rather important to try to get the matter right.

2.45 p.m.

Mr. Marcus Lipton (Brixton)

I do not know whether I shall be allowed to say what I want to say at this stage, or Whether I should delay my remarks until new Clause E comes before the House.

Mr. Speaker

I thought the House accepted that we might discuss the two Amendments together, although they would have to be put separately.

Mr. Lipton

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I followed with very great interest What the right hon. Gentleman had to say, in particular in relation to registered clubs. I view the new Clause with a certain amount of disquiet. It will make it easier for registered clubs to conduct their operations till 1 a.m. Some registered clubs, as we have learnt from experience, are not very desirable places, and I am a little worried what the effect of a Clause like this one will be in a constituency such as the one I represent, where we have had a lot of trouble with undesirable clubs.

The new Clause may give these undesirable clubs a new lease of life. I appreciate that the right hon. Gentleman said that if there is undue noise and disorderly conduct and people living nearby are disturbed the police will be able to take the necessary action. However, he did not specify in great detail what that police action would be—whether it would take the form of objection to the renewal of the club licence when the next annual application had to be made.

What I am afraid of is this. A club of the type that I have in mind is usually opened in a private house in a residential thoroughfare, and it may he able to carry on its activities until 1 a.m. to the grave disadvantage of people living nearby who want to get to bed early, and these people will have no remedy which will bring the noise and disturbance caused by the club, especially with these extended hours, to a speedy conclusion.

I should feel much happier if before I were asked to accept the new Clause and also, in particular, new Clause E. the right hon. Gentleman would set out more clearly and specifically the rights of an aggrieved person who is incommoded by a club keeping open till 1 a.m. and creating noise and disturbance. If there is a speedy remedy, I shall be the more induced to accept the new Clause.

Mr. Eric Johnson (Manchester, Blackley)

I support what my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) said. It is certainly my impression from the discussions that we had earlier that the provinces were to be put on the same level as London in this respect. I do not know whether it is still possible for my right hon. Friend to look at the matter again, but I think that it would be very much better if he could bring the provinces to the same time as London.

Mr. Ede

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether some of the points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) may not come within the purview of the town planning legislation? It seems to me that if there is a residential district where a fairly large house comes into the market, and is bought by people who intend to establish a club there, that might require planning consent before it could be operated. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that we had the same point with regard to betting shops.

Mr. Rees-Davies

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) is correct in saying that town planning consent would be required. I would also draw his attention to subsection (8, b) of new Clause A, which makes specific reference to conduct of persons resorting to the premises and any annoyance resulting or likely to result from it to the occupiers or inmates of premises in the neighbourhood or by reason of the premises having been in any respect ill-conducted. There are, therefore, two brakes—the town planning one and the one in the Clause. What will apply under new Clause A will equally apply to new Clause E, which operates with new Clause A.

Mr. Ede

I am always grateful when getting into this very murky atmosphere to have the shining light of the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) to guide me. I know that the interests of evil doers will be well looked after then.

I also ask the right hon. Gentleman about the case where an application has been made, abjection taken, and a decision reached—the sort of case, already alluded to, where it is alleged that the premises have been ill-conducted and where there is a prosecution which results in a certain decision. Is it open to bath sides to the dispute to appeal to quarter sessions against the decision of the justices? Is an appeal open to either side?

Mr. Rees-Davies

I want to go back to the point I posed earlier in a rather long question which my right hon. Friend did not then wish to reply to. As he knows, this is a matter in which I was closely associated with my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel). We tried to ensure that the provinces got fair treatment, which would, in addition, save much machinery.

Under this provision, we shall have an hotel or restaurant applying for a licence, for the form of party where entertainment is provided, as part of the general licensing. If such a licence is applicable only until 1 a.m., however, then we shall have other applications being added to the main application. I take as an example the main hotels in my constituency. There are at least two, and each has a different function every night of the week. There is a ball every night throughout the winter, at which there are cabarets and entertainment.

To have this facility until 2 a.m. would cover the case properly. There would still be complete discretion with the magistrates, which would cover all the cases in country districts. Applicants would not then have to go to the magistrates for an occasional licence from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. They would be able to use the umbrella of a general hour of 2 a.m.

I am afraid that their Lordships in another place had it in mind that going to bed by 1 a.m. is proper behaviour for the provinces, and that it is only the sophisticated chaps in London who can be allowed to stay up until 2 a.m. There has been a mistake here. Fortunately, it is a tiny one and perhaps my right hon. Friend can change this now from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Perhaps the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) will assist me. My ignorance will be apparent. Would not his suggestion require an Amendment to the Lords Amendment? I am not in a position to accept that under the rules of the House.

Mr. Rees-Davies

Before you took the Chair, Mr. Speaker, I raised with Mr. Deputy-Speaker the question of a small Amendment to the Lords Amendment which was then before the House. He indicated that, if the Government were so minded themselves to invite the Chair to accept a small Amendment to a Lords Amendment, and if the House agreed, he might be prepared to accept. I do not know whether you would be equally prepared to do so.

Mr. Speaker

I take the view that I have no power to do so.

Mr. Rees-Davies

That being so, then I must leave the matter as it is. I agree that there is a difficulty, as we are taking this at a late stage in the Session. I do not want to send this new Clause back to another place again, merely for it to come back, so I suppose that we are left with 1 a.m. for the provinces. But I hope that my right hon. Friend might be able to make some sympathetic noises on this matter or find another opportunity of altering the time.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I am quite pleased that the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees Davies) did not put down an Amendment to the Lords Amendment in time to move it today, and that it is impossible for him now to get the Government to change their minds over these timings. One a.m. for the provinces is quite in order.

The hon. Gentleman wrongly assumes that people sit up much later in the provinces than they do. People in London may stay up longer because buses and other transport run later, but in the provinces, even in some of the larger towns, transport ends certainly at midnight, and therefore it is quite reasonable that the hour of 1 a.m. should be inserted for the provinces as a general rule. For special occasions, a later hour may be applied for. I see no harm in that. Nor do I believe that the provinces, in some way, are being badly treated.

Mr. A. R. Wise (Rugby)

Public transport in London is shut down long before 2 a.m.

Mr. Hall

Unfortunately we are dealing with the facts, and it is a fact that, by general consent, it is considered that the hours in London should be later than those in the provinces. The hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet wants to have the same hours for the provinces as those which obtain in London. I am trying to say, though I may be wrong, that, in my experience, people normally go to bed in the provinces much earlier than people in London.

In any case, there is much less noise, and the question of noise enters into this matter. We had to deal with this question on a number of occasions during the earlier stages of the Bill. The later restaurants and public houses are allowed to keep open, the more noise there is, with people starting up their cars, the slamming of doors and the shouting of friends to each other in saying goodnight. In the provinces, that sort of thing means far more disturbance, as ordinary people go to bed at a more reasonable time than those in London. We expect noise in London—and get it, unfortunately—but not in the provinces.

I hope that the Government will not give in to the blandishments of the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet, but will stick to this new Clause as it has come from another place.

Mr. Vosper

I speak again by leave of the House. First, I was puzzled by what my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson) said, because this Clause applies to the provinces as it does to the Metropolis. It covers all parts of England and Wales. The latest hour of closing is 1 a.m. for London, as it is for the provinces. We have chosen that hour partly because it was the hour named in the Amendment of my noble Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) which attracted the House during the Report stage. We took the view that the hour should be earlier than that provided for special hours certificate premises, which have to satisfy more rigorous conditions and provide more facilities in the form of dancing and so on. It seemed right that an earlier hour should obtain in the case of these premises.

3.0 p.m.

Anyhow, Mr. Speaker, you have ruled that we should be out of order in suggesting any other hour, but I should not like to suggest to my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) that the Government would want to go beyond one o'clock. We have already said that the justices may fix an earlier hour, if they so wish, but I must make it clear that that applies to any part of England and Wales, subject to the discretion of the justices.

The hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) justifiably had certain apprehensions about his own constituency, but I hope that I can satisfy them. As I have said, and as is clear from the Clause, fairly strict conditions have to be satisfied before the applicant can apply to the justices, or a magistrate, for a licence. It will not be possible for the ordinary public house to make an application. Secondly, the grant of the licence or certificate is entirely at the justice's discretion and it may be that the justices in the hon. Member's constituency do not grant any of these extensions. It is entirely discretionary. I must tell the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) that there is no ordinary appeal on this issue to quarter sessions. My right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General will have something to say about appeal.

It is open to the residents in Brixton. or anywhere else, at any time to go to the police and lay a complaint. If the hon. Member studies subsection (8) of the new Clause he will see that it is fairly extensive and comprehensive and in paragraph (b) he will see the various grounds on which a complaint may be made. He will find that it is fairly open to his constituents to go to the police at any time and for the police at any time to apply for revocation of the extension on the grounds set out in subsection (8, b). We have been at considerable pains to ensure that people who might be upset by the noise or disturbance will have every opportunity not only at the initial grant, but at any time to lay complaint against premises which cause them annoyance.

The right hon. Member for South Shields also asked about planning permission. The setting up of club premises in the first place may require planning permission, if it is a change of use, but here we are considering licensed premises, licensed restaurants or clubs, which have licences for normal sales, or certificates, but which require an extension under the new Clause. That in itself would not normally be a matter for the planning committee, but I do not pretend to be an expert on planning law.

However, I should like the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Brixton to rest their anxieties on subsection (8), which is fairly strict and which will provide for objections to be made by those people who are aggrieved. I have never pretended that this is a small proposal. It is extensive and it logically follows from what was done in the earlier Act and it may be fairly widely used. For that reason, we have been most anxious to write in as many safeguards as seemed necessary, and, of course, we will keep this proposal under close review.

The Solicitor-General

I do not know if the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) would like me to deal briefly with the question of appeal.

Mr. Ede

It is always a pleasure to listen to the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

The Solicitor-General

The new Clause is linked to Section 104 of the 1953 Act and under that Act there is no appeal to quarter sessions. The reason is that we are here concerned with an order rather than the grant of a licence. However, if the licensing justices give an erroneous decision on a point of law, the matter is reviewable in the divisional court by use of one of the prerogative writs.

The same answer applies to the new Clause E which relates to clubs and where, in subsection (1, a), for references to the licensing justices there should be substituted references to the magistrates' courts. Under Clause 26 (1), a club may appeal to quarter sessions against a decision of a magistrates' court refusing to issue or renew a registration certificate and so on, but that does not apply to the provisions of new Clause E which are parallel with Section 104 of the 1953 Act, as they should be. Under new Clause E, a decision of the magistrates' court would be reviewable by the divisional court if it were an erroneous decision on a point of law.

Question put and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: In page 25, line 5, at end insert: (8) Subsection (1) and, so far as relates to appeals against a refusal to give consent under that subsection or to declare u provisional grant final, subsection (5) above shall with any necessary modifications apply in relation to provisional grants of licences under the Licensing (Seamen's Canteens) Act, 1954.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

The Amendment extends the improvement to the provisional grant procedure made by Clause 14 to seamen's canteens, otherwise they would not have the benefit of it.

Question put and agreed to.