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PEL (UK)

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Cllr 31 Aug 01 - 06:14 AM
Cappuccino 31 Aug 01 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,Rag 31 Aug 01 - 07:54 AM
The Shambles 31 Aug 01 - 10:12 AM
The Shambles 31 Aug 01 - 10:31 AM
The Shambles 31 Aug 01 - 05:25 PM
The Shambles 31 Aug 01 - 05:34 PM
The Shambles 31 Aug 01 - 05:49 PM
The Shambles 31 Aug 01 - 05:52 PM
The Shambles 01 Sep 01 - 12:27 PM
The Shambles 01 Sep 01 - 12:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Sep 01 - 06:18 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Sep 01 - 06:21 PM
running.hare 03 Sep 01 - 06:36 PM
The Shambles 03 Sep 01 - 06:57 PM
Cllr 04 Sep 01 - 10:04 AM
The Shambles 04 Sep 01 - 12:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Sep 01 - 02:12 PM
The Shambles 04 Sep 01 - 02:52 PM
Roger in Sheffield 04 Sep 01 - 03:12 PM
The Shambles 04 Sep 01 - 04:21 PM
Gareth 04 Sep 01 - 06:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Sep 01 - 07:59 PM
The Shambles 04 Sep 01 - 08:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Sep 01 - 08:24 PM
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Subject: PEL (UK)
From: Cllr
Date: 31 Aug 01 - 06:14 AM

I have just joined Mudcat cafe and I am very interested in the PEL controversy.

I have been a folk club organiser for eight years and also occasional performer. I am also a recently elected county councillor (hence my mudcat name Cllr) I am looking to create a document on how the PEL rules should be interpreted and maybe lobby for a change in the current regulations. If I can establish a sensible plan which has at least a certain amount of practicality for all parties concerned and get it it implemented here at county level perhaps other county councils may wish to use it as a model.

I realise that a lot of comment has been made already in earlier threads. and I hope to save my self a lot of time buy focus the discussion in this new thread.

Please feel free to flame a way but any constructive comments would be welcome. Meanwhile I shall be looking into how our officers currently handle the situation.

I'm off to The Wareham Wail to laugh, drink and sing over the weekend. Talk to you all on Monday.

Cllr


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: Cappuccino
Date: 31 Aug 01 - 06:58 AM

First time I've known anyone admit to being a councillor! Nice to meet you, hope your project goes very well indeed. - Ian B (Oxfordshire)


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: GUEST,Rag
Date: 31 Aug 01 - 07:54 AM

Hi Cllr, Which county council are you on? Some of us might be on your doorstep...

Between us we've got loads of stuff ranging from anecdotal evidence through to the legal stuff. It seems to be difficult to get councillors to question the blanket judgements made by the unelected officers and the rule seems to be "we've always done it this way so we'll carry on doing it".

It's really good to see an elected rep trying to represent. Nice one.


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Aug 01 - 10:12 AM

The many threads we have all been taking part in, have not been short of many sensible suggestions.

If you care to look at those and come forward with your plan in this thread, I am sure you will receive lots of advice.

It has been difficult enough focusing attention in the threads we have, I would suggest that another one on the very same subject will obscure the issue rather than focus on it.............?


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Aug 01 - 10:31 AM

This thread has links to all the earlier threads on the subject, that Kevin was kind enough to do the work on URGENT ETC.


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Aug 01 - 05:25 PM

This is the background to my local situation.

When the current licensees took over the Cove, my wife and I performed there as conventional paid public entertainment. As a result the Friday night became a regular night for this. As long as the two-performer aspect was kept to, a Public Entertainment Licence was not required as the Section 182 exemption (the so-called two-in a bar rule) applied.

Another pub has held a regular sing-around for about 5 years now, without a Public Entertainment Licence. This is not a conventional public entertainment. The musicians are unpaid customers just making traditional song for their own entertainment, with the permission of the licensee. The licensee of The Cove had visited this sing-around with me and would have liked to have a similar thing in their pub but did not want to take away any custom from this establishment.

This session became busy and there was a conflict between songs and tunes. We thought that a session on another night of the week, for tunes only would solve a number of problems. We needed to advertise that it was for tunes only. In our naivety we did not dream that the licensing authority would class customers providing their own traditional music, as performers for the sole purpose of preventing it.

I advertised for participants for the first night 07/12/200, in our local paper, the licensing manager saw this, wrongly assumed that the licensee had place it and was staging a public entertainment. The premises were visited the next day 08/12/00 and the licensee was threatened, even though at this point, the event had not been witnessed to ascertain how many musicians were involved. When it was witnessed they saw what they wanted to see, a public entertainment with more than two performers. They did not bother to speak to any of the musicians. A letter was issued warning that the licensee faced a possible £20,000 fine or a six month prison sentence if it continued.

When I heard of this action I contacted the licensing dept and explained. It would be fair to say that they did not really consider it to be any of my business but a matter only between them and the licensee. Despite the council's other obligations, all they appeared to be concerned about was that it was unfair on the pubs that had PELs. The original event has not received any attention from our officials and continues.

Events of this nature usually stop at this point, the licensee being unwilling to pay for the cost of a PEL. In this case however the licensee did apply on 01/02/01 The PEL was eventually granted on 16/05/01 but with conditions that were not decided by councillors, in the public hearing scheduled for this on 09/05/01. This hearing being cancelled at the very last moment, by the officers, and the conditions applied in private. These conditions preventing any outside entertainment from taking place except once every August. I have established that this includes Morris dancing on land belonging to the premises. Far from enabling it the PEL has resulted in this traditional activity at the pub being prevented.

I did not feel that the elected members and the public would be happy with this and requested that the policy and the future of traditional music locally, be decided by a meeting of the elected members. Eventually on 05/06/01 a meeting of the Social and Community Committee were recommended to "confirm that steps taken by Licensing Officers to encourage an application from the proprietor of The Cove House Inn., Portland for a licence permitting public entertainment on the premises were appropriate and justified".

The officers presented 'advice' for this meeting, that really gave the members no other choice but to confirm this. They state: "By applying the relevant licensing legislation the council has imposed conditions and restrictions on Mr Gall's rights (of freedom of expression), that are legal, necessary and proportionate in the interests of public safety, control of nuisance and the prevention of crime and disorder.

They admit that no public complaint was ever received about the session and no additional safety, noise, or crime measures were required to enable the granting of the PEL. In other words everyone was just as safe before this action as they now are with a PEL and there were clearly never any grounds for preventing for six months, my right of freedom of expression contained in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights?


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Aug 01 - 05:34 PM

There is also this current thread Write a email for Shambles? 2. You can help now........Please do....


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Aug 01 - 05:49 PM

It is complicated I accept but here are a few points of principle........

I refuse to accept that customers of all ages, sex, race or religion making unpaid music together, for the sheer joy of doing so in a public house, where the interests of the public are already assured by existing legislation, can or should be prevented.

 In this activity the public's freedom of expression is guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

 Where the licensee has given permission for their customers to traditionally make music or sing, there is no additional issue of noise, nuisance or public safety, that is not already more than adequately covered by other existing legislation.

 If a public house's maximum capacity is not exceeded, and all of those customers were to sing, would this activity alone make them unsafe? …..It would however make it illegal, according to WPBC policy.

 This policy is that members of the public making music are performers and where there are more than two people singing along, this activity is illegal, without a Public Entertainment Licence.

 Case law has not established that members of the public are performers but WPBC's policy has.

 Further that traditional activities like Morris Dancing, taking place on private or land belonging to a public house, will also be illegal without this licence.

 I strongly request that Weymouth and Portland Council Borough urgently re-examine both the legality and wisdom of this policy also to establish if this policy has been made in the best interests of all the visitors and residents of Weymouth and Portland?

Roger Gall.

If you agree with the above, it may help if you copy some of all of it, add your own comments and send them to The Director of Tourism, Council Offices, North Quay, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8TA.

ianlocke@wpbc.weymouth.gov.uk

Copied to the local paper also letters@dorsetecho.co.uk Many thanks......


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Aug 01 - 05:52 PM

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council . The council can be contacted from this link.


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 12:27 PM

The chief Executive's position....

31 August 2001 Dear Mr Gall

Thank you for coming to see Sue Allen and myself last week. I am sure it is helpful for all of us to be able to put names and faces together. I think we can probably agree that our exchange of views demonstrated that nobody at the council is trying to be unreasonable. I'm also sure we can agree that the meeting reinforced my view that there is scope to pool our efforts to try to influence changes in the law.

It seems to me that at the heart of you line of argument and comments, is that the Council has some discretion; in turn, exercising that discretion requires a policy and hence, it is the policy pursued by the Council you wish to see altered. As you know the Council's view has always been that it is a matter of law, not policy as such.

We explored this matter in some depth and I think the key issues surround what is entertainment, and whether the kind of events/activities hosted by the Cove House Inn, are covered by the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 1982. You referred to Lord Bassam's comments, and in particular, to the phrase "depending on the circumstances", and you go on to suggest this is a clear indication that it is solely up to the Council as to whether a Public Entertainment Licence (PEL) is necessary for the Cove House Inn.

As promised, I have discussed the matter further with our legal team. We all remain of the view that Lord Bassam's comments do not increase the discretion available beyond that which is already allowed for in the Council's approach. We talked at our meeting about the extremes of entertainment. At one extreme might be the one-off, unorganised "sing-song". At the other extreme, a professional, regular act. We believe the "depending on circumstances" comment of Lord Bassam recognises that the extreme of the one-off, unarranged, sing-song is such that:-

it is doubtful that those taking part are true performers, it might not qualify as entertainment, and in any event, it is so minor an activity as to render the requirement of a PEL as unreasonable.

Progressing beyond this extreme illustration, however, it is clear that the requirement for a PEL becomes more obvious. The circumstances at the Cove House Inn – whereby, very regularly (i.e. almost every week) entertainment takes place; along with support evidence of a degree of declaration of an intent for the entertainment to take place -–are very different to the minimalistic extreme of one-off, informal sing-songs. It remains the Council's view that the discretion available (i.e. interpretation of the "depending on circumstances") falls a long way short of covering the events that occur at the Cove House Inn. Hence, it is a matter of law, not policy.

We talked about the general purpose of PELs. In essence, there are two main reasons for the Act requiring PELs – to ensure public safety and protection of neighbours from intrusive noise. I should make it clear that there have never been any allegations, that we know of, that the Thursday sessions that you take part in threaten public safety, or produce obtrusive noise to neighbours. But the test under the Act - as to whether a licence is needed or not – is not whether safety or noise is an issue. The test is simply – does entertainment take place, and if so, are there exemptions, e.g. 2 or less people performing, is in support of a religious gathering, etc. We did of course discuss the definition of entertainment (and indeed, performers) but in reality, I think you would probably agree that entertainment is taking place at the Cove House Inn. It remains, therefore, our view that the Cove House Inn requires a PEL and the circumstances around the entertainment are so far removed from the informal unplanned, very occasional events, at the end of the entertainment spectrum, that we have no discretion in the matter.

I suspect that what I have written above will not come as a major surprise to you but I do hope you can acknowledge a clear justification for the Council's approach, even if you continue to disagree with it. However, I know how passionately you feel about matters and I think we would both be better served by turning our attention to our attention to the effect of the legislation, particularly bearing in mind that there does seem to be a will for Parliament to consider new legislation. This is why I made the comment in the opening paragraph that by pooling our efforts, we can try to influence changes to the law.

For example, you asserted that there are circumstances whereby landlords, when advised of the need for a PEL, have insisted that the entertainment cease. Are you able to provide real and tangible examples of landlords who have curtailed activities because of the need for a PEL? If so, this becomes real evidence that can be weighed against the positive aspects of the PEL requirements (i.e. safety/noise regulation, paid for by those hosting the entertainment). In a similar vein, you will know that at the Social and Community Meeting in June, the Council agreed to obtain views from musicians on prospective alterations to the legislation. If you, or any of the people you have contact with, are able to make comments about proposals for reforming legislation, we would be pleased to hear them.

Once we have collected all of the views, I would anticipate that we will be able to put forward an argument to the appropriate Government department, which will recognise that there is scope for improvement within the PEL system, to everyone's advantage. Perhaps you will let me know if you can help in this.

Yours sincerely

Tom Grainger Chief Executive


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 12:34 PM

I think that if the CE accepts that an event is not at the extreme end i.e. full blown public entertainment.

He should not class it as such and charge the full licence fee, as if it was full blown public entertainment.

But what do I know? I'm just the musician/performer he is actually talking about.


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 06:18 PM

I've just started yet another threadwith a song about all this


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 06:21 PM

And here is the link to it that didn't work in that last post.


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: running.hare
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 06:36 PM

but at least he's willing to help try & change the Law. which is realy whats needed in the long run.

He's offering an olive branch, I'd grab it wile in reach. (that way you can niggle on from the inside) ;¬)


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 06:57 PM

I certainly think we should send him the information he requests. Remember he is going to decide if there is suffient material for them to pass it on and we will have no idea if he ever does what he says he will do.

We should however be under no illusion why he is making, what is effect an offer to do, what we can do through our own MPs.

If the council really do consider the current law needs changing, there is nothing stopping them from going to central Government anyway?

Any new legislation is unlikely to be in effect for several years, the problem he needs to address is under the current legislation and one of the worst examples, on his own doorstep.

He has made it quite clear that he has no intention of addressing this and he is hoping that his 'offer' will buy him time, for everyone to lose interest and leave them in peace..


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: Cllr
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 10:04 AM

I am getting information from the officers how we implent the rules currently Thank you every one for responding


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 12:20 PM

Would you like to tell us how that is? It would be very helpful for all of to know.

As far as Section 182 goes, what definition of the word 'perfeormer will they be using? The broad catch-all one?

Or the narrow one i.e. just atistes engaged and unde some obligation to perform?


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 02:12 PM

It'd also be useful to know, when a session is included in a list of a local website, does that get counted as advertising; and again, when newspapers or magazines have free lists of what's on, the same question.

Does it make any difference whether the people involved in the session have done anything to draw their sessioin to the attention of other people or not? (For example I will put up details of where and when sessions are likely to take place locally, even when I'm not one of the regulars, and noone's asked me to. Am I putting people at risk of the licence cops?

And also, since I gather (from Gareth?) that it's illegal for councils to make any revenue on this, over and above the expenses, how can one check that a council is complying with the rules in this respect, and thta it isn't being used as a revnue maker?


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 02:52 PM

Under the law they claim to follow, whether the activity is advertised or its regularity is not relevant. True?

Of course if it is advertised, the council cannot turn 'the blind eye'. However, there is still no reason why you should not advertise your event(s)

So the main question is, what does your authority do at that point, when they are aware of the event?

Here, Robbie Williams performing in a small pub as a duo with Brittany Spears, would be public entertainment, but exempt from the PEL requirement.

But three pub customers regully singing 'The National Anthem' or the WI singing 'Jerusalem', would however be classed as performers in a public entertainment and not exempt. This would be illegal and prevented by council workers in premises without a PEL.

What would your council workers do?

If (for any reason) you would prefer not to post the answers here publicly, we can all be sent personal messages on the Mudcat, or by email. It would really be great help to know. Roger.gall@btinternet.com.

(I have decided that 'officers', is not the term I will be using in future. For it shows a respect that I do not think is deserved........Council workers will do instead).


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 03:12 PM

I have been asked for a picture of a session to be used on a website
I don't have any but know where I can find them on the web and who I can ask for pictures
The problem then (as McGrath points out) is that I could be putting at risk the pub whos picture is featured. Also I would like the permissions of the people who are in those pictures, and sessions being dynamic, the chances of being able to contact them all is remote


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 04:21 PM

The following explains Mr Grainger's 'going through the motions', or generous offer

It is the summary of the item in the minutes of the 5th June meeting of the Social and Community Committee.

RESOLVED:-

(i) That the Committee confirms that the steps take by the Licensing Manager to encourage an application from the proprietor of the Cove House Inn, Portland for a licence permitting public entertainment on the premises were appropriate and justified.

(ii) That consultation take place with local musicians regarding the law as it stands at present and what amendments could usefully be made, and that these views be collated and passed to the Government.


Note that there is no mention of how this is to be undertaken, or of this being dependent on receiving sufficient numbers of comments. There has not been any attempt locally, that I have seen to obtain the views of local musicians, so it is unlikely that the council will receive many. Remember this meeting was on 5th June!


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: Gareth
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 06:30 PM

I understand Roger the Steel's caution. With a bit of work on the old computer names and back ground can be confused and faces camuflaged. Whisper it not but I had to do an air brush job on a formerly prominant South Wales politician last general election, to remove the "Gents" sign he was standing under as he shook hands with his possible sucessor. Just so we could use it in a leaflet.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 07:59 PM

(I have decided that 'officers', is not the term I will be using in future. For it shows a respect that I do not think is deserved........Council workers will do instead).

Well, personally I think that being called a worker shows much more respect than calling them an officer. "Officer" always tends to carry a slight sneer.

And rem,ember, it's not the council workers who are resposible for the actions of the Weymouth council (for example).If some council employee gives bum advice, it's still the responsibility of the councillors if they choose to accept it, instead of the good advice they have also had from Shambles and others.

And for Roger in Sheffield: here is a link to a picture of a session that's no longer happening, the one at The Carpenters Arms. So no problems about bringing down the licence cops on it. And none of the musicians would have any worries about being on another website somewhere. So use the picture if it's any use to you.


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 08:21 PM

I take your point. Council employees, it will be.

This is positively the last time I will agree with you however.


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Subject: RE: PEL (UK)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 08:24 PM

I've just started a new thread on the Weymouth board about carol singing.

And I've put that song I wrote about all this on the BBC board.


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Mudcat time: 14 August 5:09 PM EDT

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