Mix up leads to Acton pub getting 2am licence

Late opening for Mill Hill Hotel despite 164 objections

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An Acton pub has gained a 2.00am licence after a technicality meant that the objections of 164 people opposed to the application were disregarded.

The Mill Hill Hotel on Gunnersbury Lane had made an application for extended hours in June of last year. The Council failed to hear that application within the statutory period and it was deemed to have been refused. Rather than appeal that decision, on 22nd December 2005 the applicant submitted a new application. Under the 2003 Licensing Act the Council can only consider objections received within 28 days after an application is submitted. The council failed to tell objectors to the first application that they needed to resubmit their objections. As a result the second application has been approved on a technicality despite objections from many local residents.

A petition signed by 149 people was presented along with 15 letters of objection against the original licence application. A Licensing Sub-Committee which met on 29th March 2006 to deal with the application for the Mill Hill Hotel in Gunnersbury Lane was told that it could not hear the objections because the pub owners had submitted a second application. As a consequence the licence application was granted.

Cllr Jason Stacey, Leader of Ealing Conservatives said,“This is another clear example of Labour controlled Ealing Council letting down local people through its own incompetence. The new licensing arrangements were supposed to give residents greater say over licences that affect them, yet Council ineptitude has allowed a rowdy pub a free ride and frozen out input from residents.”

In response to Actonw3.com's enquiries into this matter, Ann Hodges, Service Head Business Regulation and Support, Environmental Health, said "The Council apologises for an unfortunate procedural oversight which led to this application being granted for a variation of a premises licence without first being considered by the council's Licensing Sub Committee. However, under the Licensing Act 2003, an application may be made at any time to review any licence that has been granted."

An application for review may be made by an 'interested party' (eg a local resident) or a 'Responsible Authority' (eg the police) to the council (in its capacity as Licensing Authority) and can only be refused for consideration where it is not relevant to the licensing objectives or where when made by an interested party, is considered to be 'frivolous', 'vexatious' or 'repetitious' in nature. All reviews are conducted by means of a formal hearing before the Licensing Sub Committee at which all parties involved are entitled to attend and put forward their representations. Where a review is upheld, the Sub Committee has power to revoke a licence.

March 31, 2006