HC Deb 19 June 1961 vol 642 cc1120-2
Mr. Fletcher

I beg to move, in page 52, line 45, to leave out subparagraph (5) and to insert: (5) Upon the lodging of any such application or amended application or any such notice with the clerk to the justices a club shall send a copy each to any chief officer of police concerned and to the clerk of any local authority concerned. The object of this Amendment is that when an application is lodged with the clerk to the justices a copy shall be sent to the chief officer of police and the clerk of the local authority. That is to enable them to have notice of the application and to take any steps they may wish. That seems a reasonable proposition and I hope that it will be acceptable to the Government.

Mr. Vosper

It would be very nice at, this stage of the proceedings to say that I could accept the spirit of the Amendment, but, with respect to the hon. Member, it is not very good sense.

At the moment, the clubs are required to send their notices to the clerk to the justices who is required to send them forthwith to the other bodies interested. I am well aware that some local authorities think that direct notification to them would save time, but we are already imposing a fairly considerable burden on the clubs and, while it is a fairly easy undertaking for them to send their notices direct to the clerk to the justices, if they are also to distribute them to local authorities and other bodies, that is imposing an additional burden upon them. Many representations have been sent to me about the smaller clubs which might be confused as to which local authority they are required to send to.

Following the representations made to me earlier tonight, I do not think that the burden on clubs should be too great. It would be better to allow them to send their notices direct to the justices as envisaged in the Bill, the clerks to the licensing justices being instructed to send them forthwith to the other bodies. I think that we should stick to what is in the Bill in the interests of the clubs. I think that that will work perfectly satisfactorily.

Mr. Fletcher

I find what the Minister says reasonable, and, in those circumstances, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Vosper

I beg to move, in page 52, line 50, at the end to insert: (6) A club applying for the issue of a registration certificate for any premises, or for the renewal of a registration certificate in respect of different, additional or enlarged premises, shall give public notice of the application (identifying those premises and giving the name and address of the club) either—

  1. (a) by displaying the notice on or near the premises, in a place where it can conveniently be read by the public, for the seven days beginning with the date of the application; or
  2. (b) by advertisement on one at least of those days in a newspaper circulating in the place where the premises are situated.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

It may be convenient with this Amendment to take the following Government Amendment.

Mr. Vosper

In view of the very reasonable attitude adopted by the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher), I can say that this Amendment is moved as a result of an Amendment which he advanced in Committee to provide that members of the public with an interest in the application of a new club should be made aware of the application being made, which is not provided as the Bill stands.

Although notification would go to the authorities, the resident who may be interested in the premises might not be aware of the application. In Committee the hon. Member suggested that some way should be found to advertise the application. The Amendment does that.

The applicant has to advertise in one of two ways—he is given a choice. He can put an advertisement at or near the premises for seven days, or advertise for one day in the local newspaper.

That entirely meets the hon. Member's case. It is a reasonable request to make to the club.

Mr. Fletcher

I remember having made this suggestion in Committee and I am very gratified to see that the Minister has adopted it. I need hardly add that it considerably improves the Bill and has my wholehearted support.

Amendment agreed to.