House of Lords Report on Findings - Licensing Act 2003
The House of Lords Select Committee recognise the 'radical' suggestion that licensing committees be abolished and their work amalgamated with that of planning committees, following evidence from Peter Rogers stating, "Having attended both, my view is that the planning process is probably far more prepared and helpful to achieve the outcome we are striving for. The licensing committee environment seems somewhat inconsistent - that is one word for it - and perhaps unhelpful in what we are trying to achieve. The single best thing that could be achieved is to remove the Chinese wall between licensing and planning to enable both things to be considered".
Peter goes on to say, "In my experience of both scenarios, I have seen perhaps more opportunity in the planning process for residents' concerns to be addressed early on. They may still have an issue that they want to express. They can do that to the committee and it will be considered. In the licensing situation, I see almost a lost opportunity to have dialogue before, and we end up with a situation that is far more charged in the committee environment, where residents want to be heard, and rightly so. There is an opportunity to learn from planning committees, ultimately to give the public a clear and consistent way of being treated".
The Report states (at 154.) "Sections 6-10 of the Licensing Act 2003 should be amended to transfer the functions of local authority licensing committees and sub-committees to the planning committees. We recommend that this proposal should be trialled in a few pilot areas"; and (at 155.) "We believe that the debate and the consultation on transferring the functions of licensing committees and sub committees to the planning committees must start now, and the pilots must follow as soon as possible".