The Department's statistical data do not identify the reasons for rejected applications for premises licences and club premises certificates, nor do they show which of the rejected applications relate to the sale of alcohol. In some cases, applications will relate solely to the provision of regulated entertainment or late night refreshment. The first published statistical bulletin since the implementation of the Act, which covers the period April 2006 to March 2007, reported the number of Premises Licence and Club Premises Certificate applications that went to a committee hearing was 6,408 (based on 81 per cent. of Licensing Authority responses).
In the second published statistical bulletin since the implementation of the Act, which covers the period April 2007 to March 2008, there were 5,194 Premises Licence and Club Premises Certificate applications that went to a committee hearing (based on 95 per cent. of Licensing Authority responses). This statistical bulletin also reports reasons for completed reviews based upon each of the four licensing objectives, for this same period; these can be found in Tables 8a and 8b online:
We do not centrally hold information on the proximity of licensed premises to residential areas. Parliament has delegated responsibility for licensing decisions to local authorities who are best placed to consider licensing issues in relation to residential and other areas.
Since the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003, DCMS has been collecting alcohol, entertainment and late night refreshment statistics for England and Wales on an annual basis by financial year from licensing authorities. The first bulletin covers the period April 2006 to March 2007; the second bulletin covers the period April 2007 to March 2008.
For the period ending March 2008, 94 per cent. of new premises licence applications were granted, 2 per cent. were refused and 3 per cent. were unknown or undecided at the time the data were collected. For the same period, 95 per cent. of new club premises certificates were granted, 2 per cent. refused and 3 per cent. unknown or undecided (based on around 95 per cent. of Licensing Authority responses). We do not know how many of the rejected applications were for the sale of alcohol as licences and certificates also cover the provision of regulated entertainment and late night refreshment. However, generally we can say that 84 per cent. of premises licences and 98 per cent. of club premises certificates permitted the sale of alcohol.
For the period ending March 2007, 96 per cent. of new premises licences were granted, 1 per cent. were refused and 3 per cent. were unknown or undecided at the time the data were collected. For the same period, 92 per cent. of new club premises certificates were granted, 2 per cent. were refused and 6 per cent. were unknown or undecided (based on around 82 per cent. of Licensing Authority responses).
Prior to the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003, data on the number of alcohol licences revoked in England and Wales were collected by petty sessional division (magistrates court areas), on a triennial basis. In the year to 30 June 2004, 97 per cent. of new on- and off-licensed premises were granted, and 3 per cent. were refused/undecided. Also 79 per cent. of applications for registered clubs were granted with 21 per cent. refused/undecided.
In the year to 30 June 2001, 88 per cent. of new on- and off-licensed premises were granted, and 12 per cent. were refused/undecided. Also 93 per cent. of applications for registered clubs were granted with seven per cent. refused/undecided.
The Department's first evaluation of the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 in March 2008 showed that the police have welcomed their new powers and provided evidence that local people are much better engaged than they were under the old licensing regime. Also, information and case studies we gathered from scrutiny councils as part of the review suggested that initial benefits were developing into longer term trends and that the Act is having a real impact on key issues such as crime and disorder and sales of alcohol to children. The Department does receive a number of letters, mainly from the public, where concerns are raised but it is not possible to state categorically which of these could be classified as complaints. We have always maintained that licensing is not the only solution to problems related to crime and disorder and nuisance and we continue to liaise with local authority representatives, police representatives, and other Government Departments (notably, the Home Office and the Department of Health, which have overall responsibility for the Government's renewed alcohol strategy) to develop new measures for combating these social problems.
The latest Alcohol Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Bulletin reports that as of 31 March 2008 there were an estimated 6,700 premises licences with 24 hour alcohol permissions under the Licensing Act 2003. This figure is comprised of 700 pubs, bars and nightclubs; 1,300 supermarkets and stores; 4,100 hotel bars; and 600 other types of premises. Together they account for under 4 per cent. of all premises licensed for the sale of alcohol. Most 24 hour licences are held by hotels, making alcohol available to guests round the clock, which would have existed under the previous regime.
We do not hold the requested information centrally. It should be noted that the times on a licence do not show the actual opening hours which will often be less as the licence provides flexibility. However, we did commission work for the evaluation of the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 (available from the House Library) which shows actual closing times on a Saturday night, provided by licensees. The summary shows, for example, that pub closures have increased by up to 27 minutes to a 11.30 pm average closing time and that bar closures are up 28 minutes to a midnight average closing time.