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Wokingham Lib-Dems seek Government changes to Licensing Act 2003

September 30, 2005 12:00 AM

Wokingham Liberal Democrats last night persuaded Tory Councillors to join them in their fight for better licensing laws. Local councils have been given the responsibility for determining licenses for the sale of alcohol, and the Liberal Democrats are unhappy with the limits placed on them.

Councillor Stephen Conway (Councillor for Twyford ward) said, "The Licensing Law as it stands at the moment gives residents little chance of finding out about license applications in their neighbourhoods. If they do manage to find out, they have very few grounds on which to complain, as the Law favours the licensees over their neighbours.

"I want to see a level playing field here, so that the right decisions can be made. People's biggest concerns are noise, disturbance and anti-social behaviour. But the Government has not given councils the proper powers to protect our residents from these very real concerns. We find the council has to grant licenses against the wishes of our residents, and then worry about how to deal with any problems after they've occurred.

"This is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. We should be able to impose strict conditions to make sure that people's lives are not made a misery by alcohol-related anti-social behaviour.

"The Conservatives agreed with us at last night's Wokingham District Council meeting, and the Council will now write to the Government and to our local MPs calling on them to give us greater powers to consult with our residents and to give them a bigger say in determining licenses."