When the Council first published its Licensing Policy (the Policy) in January 2005 in compliance with Section 5 of the Licensing Act 2003 (the Act), we could only best guess how in practice we would exercise our powers. The Act was then a new and untested piece of legislation and its practical impact was uncertain. In particular, the licensing of the sale and supply of alcohol and take-aways was not something that the Council had any previous experience of.
In the ensuing years the precise nature of the Council's role, acting in its capacity as Licensing Authority, has evolved and matured.
When the Council reviewed its policy in 2007 we were able to address the gap between the anticipated role of the Licensing Authority as defined in our first policy and the role actually assumed in reality. The Council's revised policy, which we published in January 2008, was much more experience based and therefore more responsive to the effects of the new licensing regime.
The third generation policy, published in January 2011 drew on the lessons learnt over a further 3 years of operational experience, changes were made to the policy which built on past successes and which challenged in new or more effective ways remaining areas of concern. This experience allowed the Council to develop its policy making role with greater confidence, clarity and precision as to what works in the district of Aylesbury Vale in terms of promoting the licensing objectives.
The Council now has 9 years of practical experience in implementing the Act. The previous policy has proved successful, particularly as it applies to Aylesbury town centre not only in contributing to a continuing fall in crime and disorder (a Community Safety Partnership priority) but also assisting in the development of the town centre in line with the Council’s Strategic Town Centre Vision. The saturation policy has been commended by the Association of Town Centre Management’s Purple Flag award for the town centre. It is the intention of this current policy to reflect the Council’s vision for the night time economy, particularly in our town centres and promote standards by setting out our expectations of business practice through licensing mechanisms. A restraint policy in respect to Aylesbury town centre has proved successful, and an approach which seeks to restrain later hours is intended for Buckingham town centre.
The Policy has also generally been updated and, in particular, changes have been made to reflect amendments made to the Licensing Act 2003 and the Guidance issued under Section 182 of the Act to Licensing Authorities as well as case law developments.
Finally, the opportunity has been taken to improve the drafting of the policy wherever this was felt necessary.