Extra advice to be offered for Richmondshire event organisers

Richmond Live.

Extra advice on avoiding having a licence for a special event refused will be offered after councillors heard how pubs and festivals had suffered the consequences of filling out forms incorrectly.

Members of Richmondshire District Council’s licensing committee approved  the service after hearing it could avert situations such as the cancellation of Richmond Live! in 2017 and where a pub in Askrigg had to give away its beer due to administrative blunders.

Licensing officer Kevin Chin told members licensing events helped prevent crime and disorder, ensure public safety, avert public nuisance and protect children from harm.

He said a knowledge of legislation and best practise was required to make the correct notice and it was not uncommon for applicants to lose trading time or to have to cancel events due to mistakes in the application process.

Mr Chin said: “Some have even faced prosecution when an event organiser has failed to comprehend their responsibilities within the Licensing Act and when issues have arose during an event.

“When Richmond Live! couldn’t take place the year before last the gentleman failed to get his licences in place and consequently lost lots of money, for the sake of some quality advice.”

Mr Chin said the proposal was to assist Richmondshire applicants who apply directly to the council and that many issues could be avoided if the applicant was able to access the extra pre-application advice and guidance.

He said, under the proposal, all general enquiries to licensing would continue to be dealt free of charge, before applicants are offered optional further advice and guidance for £19 for temporary event notices and £65 for premise licence applications.

Councillor Lorraine Hodgson raised concerns over community-run and charity events such as the Catterick Gathering and a Christmas market facing extra fees.

She said: “If it’s for charity I think they should get all the help and support they can. I think an extra £19 on top of a licence is a lot.”

Mr Chin said he did not foresee charities needing to use the new service due to the scale of events that they staged.

He added the move was not about making money and that the council would continue to offer support to local groups to stage events such as for the upcoming Tour de Yorkshire and UCI World Championships.

He said: “The issue is some businesses do need support and we can’t offer it. The sale of alcohol is very important and we don’t want people at risk of a six-month prison sentence because they have got it wrong.”