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What can a neighbour do?

If you wish to object, an interested party must send a valid objection in writing to the Camden Licensing Team within the stated time limit and ask for a hearing before a Licensing Panel. These are made up of local Councillors and are quasi-judicial proceedings.

To be valid, an objection must show good evidence that the proposed operations of the pub will be in breach of one or more of the following “licensing objectives” as set out in section 4 of the 2003 Act:
  • The prevention crime and disorder
  • Maintaining public safety
  • The protection of children from harm; and
  • The prevention of public nuisance

Grounds of objection

Prevention of crime and disorder is a matter for the police. On their evidence a licence can be refused where the premises are used to facilitate crime, the most usual activities being the supply and use of illegal drugs. They have powers under this Act to close pubs for 24 hours. If you suspect criminal activities are taking place, you should inform the police, obtain a record of your complaint and make sure through your Safer Neighbourhood Scheme they are following up.

Public safety is to do with the physical state of the premises, e.g. inadequate fire exits or unhygienic conditions for staff or customers.

Protection of children from harm means keeping an eye open for under-age drinking. Again the evidence must go through the police to be effective.

Preventing public nuisance is by far the most relevant grounds on which local residents can base objections. A public nuisance is primarily unacceptable noise which disturbs those that live near to the licensed premises. The noise can come from within the pub or be made by its patrons as they drink in the street or depart home. The later the departure, the less noise is necessary to constitute a public nuisance. The Heath & Hampstead Society has taken the position, which Camden has supported in their Panel decisions, that any noise or disturbance audible inside some one’s home after 11.30pm is anti-social and a public nuisance.