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The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs

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The Shambles 09 Jan 03 - 11:51 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 11:59 AM
The Shambles 09 Jan 03 - 02:29 PM
The Shambles 10 Jan 03 - 10:51 AM
Pied Piper 10 Jan 03 - 11:29 AM
Mr Red 10 Jan 03 - 04:05 PM
vindelis 10 Jan 03 - 04:09 PM
maldenny 10 Jan 03 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 10 Jan 03 - 06:20 PM
vindelis 10 Jan 03 - 07:51 PM
The Shambles 11 Jan 03 - 03:49 PM
The Shambles 11 Jan 03 - 03:59 PM
The Shambles 11 Jan 03 - 07:29 PM
The Shambles 12 Jan 03 - 01:56 PM
The Shambles 13 Jan 03 - 12:23 PM
IanC 13 Jan 03 - 12:28 PM
The Shambles 13 Jan 03 - 03:52 PM
The Shambles 13 Jan 03 - 04:35 PM
Bullfrog Jones 14 Jan 03 - 08:26 AM
The Shambles 14 Jan 03 - 08:33 AM
Bullfrog Jones 15 Jan 03 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,ET 15 Jan 03 - 06:25 AM
The Shambles 15 Jan 03 - 08:42 AM
Bullfrog Jones 15 Jan 03 - 02:39 PM
The Shambles 15 Jan 03 - 03:35 PM
Bullfrog Jones 15 Jan 03 - 06:36 PM
The Shambles 18 Jan 03 - 08:26 AM
The Shambles 18 Jan 03 - 08:29 AM
The Shambles 19 Jan 03 - 06:13 AM
The Shambles 25 Jan 03 - 08:32 AM
The Shambles 25 Jan 03 - 09:31 PM
The Shambles 28 Nov 03 - 01:43 PM
The Shambles 28 Nov 03 - 01:59 PM
The Shambles 05 Feb 04 - 02:44 PM
Richard Bridge 05 Feb 04 - 06:19 PM
The Shambles 06 Feb 04 - 01:58 AM
The Shambles 10 Feb 04 - 09:34 AM
Dave Bryant 10 Feb 04 - 10:58 AM
The Shambles 10 Feb 04 - 10:59 AM
The Shambles 11 Feb 04 - 02:45 AM
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Subject: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:51 AM

Dear Mr Knight MP

I have just spoken to the licensee of the New Star. The folk session that has been taking place there every week for over 5 years, without any complaints from anyone and without any visits being made by the officers to ascertain if this, the only musical activity taking place there was a licensable public entertainment, is no more.........

The delicate nature of these spontaneous events and the danger presented to them by being viewed in this clumsy and reckless manner is very clearly demonstrated here locally but is sadly all too common as well nationally.

The licensing manager, following information of the event being supplied to them by my new ward councillor and against my expressed wishes, issued a letter in the week before Christmas stating that any music or dancing taking place at the New Star would have to have a PEL.

As a result at the first opportunity since the Christmas break, which was last night Wednesday 8th January 2003, the licensee proposed to the regular customers, who came to continue the 10 year tradition of making unpaid folk music in Portland pubs without PELs, that they did this as a private event in the skittle alley instead of the bar, until the situation with the council could be clarified.

As a result the customers left, intending to continue their session in Weymouth, in one of the many pubs there which do pay the local authority for a PEL.

Due to the direct action of the councillors and the officers, and despite the honest efforts of many over the past 2 years, including yourself, Portland has lost a perfectly safe, beneficial community cultural activity, to its larger neighbour and in an area that is in dire need of such benefits.

An activity that would have cost the council nothing to encourage, except in some real effort being made to try to understand its true nature and how to leave such badly needed, precious and fragile activities alone.

The New Star session. R.I.P.

Messages to the Chief Executive:
TomGrainger@weymouth.gov.uk

And copied to
echo letters
letters@dorsetecho.co.uk


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:59 AM

Oh no- the tip of the iceberg- the shape of things to come


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 02:29 PM

The following letter (not the bits in bold) was published in the Dorset Evening Echo Juanuary 9th 2003. [Before news of the ending of the New Star session]

No more unreasonable implementation?
Change in entertainment policy?

In the Echo 27th December 2002, Tom Grainger, borough council chief executive, was quoted as saying. "There's no suggestion that people's enjoyment of folk music will be spoilt by any unreasonable level of implementation over entertainment licences."

Does this statement finally mean that Weymouth and Portland' Borough Council have now changed their current unreasonably implemented policy, for a new and enlightened one? Which the all the council can be applauded for in 2003?

Does it mean that the council will never again be classing unpaid members of the public, who are making music for their own pleasure, as 'performers' in a public entertainment, for the sole purpose of preventing this activity and insisting that more than two participants will make already inspected licensed premises automatically unsafe without payment of an additional fee to the council?

Does it mean that this borough is being distanced from the same kill-joy defence of this policy given recently by the chair woman of West Dorset District Council, when they recently used this to prevent a long-running traditional performance of a traditional mumming play in two Cerne Abbas pubs?

See the front page and the Echo's call for common sense, in the editorial comment for 18th December 2002.
Perhaps Mr Grainger would confirm in these pages and provide some evidence, that this change of policy, toward this common sense, is now indeed the case?

As this confirmation will ensure the support and goodwill of all folk music enthusiasts, a factor that is a necessary requirement to ensure that the council funded Weymouth Folk Festival is the success Mr Grainger and all of us, hope this year's planned event will be.

For there remains a very serious suggestion, that
people's enjoyment of folk activities (and others) are being spoilt at this very moment, by an unreasonable level of implementation over entertainment licenses in this borough. And that this unreasonable policy is apparently strongly supported by all of our council's elected representatives.

Perhaps this suggestion can be specifically answered, without for once, the attempt being made to shift the blame for a clear matter of local policy onto one of the law?

Messages to the Chief Executive:
TomGrainger@weymouth.gov.uk

And copied to
echo letters
letters@dorsetecho.co.uk

http://www.weymouth.gov.uk/main.asp?svid=7&svaid=187&svapid=1581

Details above of the council's own folk festival on Weymouth and Portland Borough Council's own website.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 10:51 AM

The point about this one is it was only the letter on its own that was enough to prevent this long-running event. It was never visited to establish if the activity was licesable or the activity was specifcally exempt fom the licensing requirement.

That is why I was alway banging on to the councillors about the risk presented to these events. It is gone and the council don't have any revenue from any PEL.

A no win situation............for anyone.

It would be helpful if you could send your thoughts on this to the council and local paper, I feel we must at least try to ensure that this does not happen anywhere again.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: Pied Piper
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 11:29 AM

The only way to make politicians Local or National do anything is to grab them by the throat and pin them to a wall (speaking metaphorically of cause). Publicity Publicity Publicity, hard on the politicians and on the causes of political mendacity.
All the beast PP


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:05 PM

I'm getting requests to hide what I know on cresby.com.

The next step is OFT (not the office of fair trading but the Mr de Ath's kinder cousin).


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: vindelis
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:09 PM

We (eight musicians - it was twenty-seven for the Christmas session) did have a final session in the skittle alley of the New Star. to say that it was bleak, was a bit of an understatement. Meanwhile the remaining customers, (all six of them) which for a wednesday is good, spent the evening pouring over the small print, of a certain document from WPBC, looking for loop-holes. £220 might not sound a lot to some. But with The New star's turn-over? I know that the Local Town Mayor is not to blame - he lives opposite. I hope I don't have to travel too far in furture.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: maldenny
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:21 PM

Would it be worth while keeping a count of sessions, clubs etc that have been forced to end/close because of PEL? Might help a friendly MP refute suggestions that this is actually helping traditional music

Mal


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 06:20 PM

Will the Council now send the Police to the Green Man exhibit in Dorset to regulate that as well or is this just about Pubjams?


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: vindelis
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 07:51 PM

One thing I forgot to mention - The Director of Tourism and Leisure was present (with his wife) at the Christmas Party session, at the New Star.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 03:49 PM

Would it be worth while keeping a count of sessions, clubs etc that have been forced to end/close because of PEL? Might help a friendly MP refute suggestions that this is actually helping traditional music

Mal


Yes Killed by the PEL system part 2

And it is vital to bring these to all of MP's attention now! Before Dr Howells manages to convince them that good intentions alone will be any use against a determined council officer. Now or when they are to be blindly supported in their uncurbed powers and increased scope of licensable events with more misery for all of us, contained in the new Bill.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 03:59 PM

This is only the visible 'tip of the iceberg' but as requested, here is a list of the events listed in the Mudcat Café, 'Killed by the PEL system' threads.

All of these have been affected, terminally in some cases, by local authority enforcement and all of this enforcement is broadly based on the interpretation of the 'two in a bar rule' that members of the public, making music, are counted as performers in a public entertainment.

An interpretation that Greenwich Council (who appear in the list twice) accept and freely state that this interpretation has never been tested in Court.

And the Government Minister responsible, Dr Howells states in a letter to Michael Portillo 14/03/02.
"However, under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 a public entertainment licence is not required if music or dancing is performed by less than three performers on licensed premises i.e. the 'two in a bar rule'. The rule is intended to apply to public performances put on by a public house to entertain the public and should not prevent ordinary people singing together or dancing in public houses".

Sessions/singarounds

The Old Ale House, Oxford April 2000
The Cove House Inn, Portland December 2000
The Welsh Harp, Waltham Abby ….2001
The Cock, Stansted Mountfitchett, May 2002
The Guildford Arms, Greenwich, May 2002
The Cricketers, Greenwich, May 2002
The Cannon, Newport Pagnall, May 2002
The Bull, Stony Stratford, June 2002
The Blue Bell, Helpston, September 2002
The Lands End, Twyford, October 2002
The Ruiston Inn, Taunton, Oct 2002
The new Star Inn Portland Jan 2003

Menbers only clubs

The Old King's Head, The Belper Folk Club, May 2002
Broadacres, The Bridlington Folk Club, July 2002
The Henry VIII Hotel, Bayswater, Tall Poppy Presents, July 2002

Miscellaneous

Waterstones Book Shop, London, 2001
Broadstairs Folk Festival, One-Man-Show, August 2002.
Red Lion and New Inn Cerne, Abbas Mummers play.

Please help to ensure that we do not lose even one more event to this stupidity? Now or ever.........

http://www.faxyourmp.com/


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 07:29 PM

One thing I forgot to mention - The Director of Tourism and Leisure was present (with his wife) at the Christmas Party session, at the New Star.

This get even more surreal, the officer responsible for the council's Cultural Stategy and entertainment was enjoying the activity, whilst being totally unware that the officer responsible for the council's entertainment licensing was issuing a letter, that would result in the end of the activity.

I wonder if he is even aware now, that it has been prevented? Or would care enough to do anything if he were?

I am sure that people must be thinking that we are making this up.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jan 03 - 01:56 PM

There is a letter from the Chief Executive 23 Dec to all councillors.

This warns them that I am asking councillors to look at the matter again and that this would be counter-productive.

If he had listened two years ago, when I warned the council of this exact senario, we could have saved the New Star session.

No one here appears to care.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 12:23 PM

23 December 2002
Dear Councillor

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (MISELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACT 1982.


I am aware that a number of Councillors have again been approached by Mr Roger Gall on the subject of entertainment licensing and the "two in a bar" rule. I therefore felt it would be helpful to you to précis the facts of the matter and subsequent action taken by this Council.

I attach a copy of the joint report of the Licensing Manager and Solicitor which was presented to Social/Community Committee on 5th June 2001. This fully explains the background to the case for you. It was resolved at this meeting that:

(I) the Committee confirmed that the steps taken 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) Consultation take place with local musicians regarding the law as it stands at present and on what amendments could usefully be made, and that these views be collated and passed to the Government.

There has been a considerable exchange of letters, E-mails, etc with Mr Gall since this time by various Officers of this Council but the Council's position has remained the same throughout. That is:

Where it comes to the attention of the Council that public entertainment is being provided without the benefit of a Public Entertainment Licence on anything more than a one off, accidental basis the Council will intervene to explain and if necessary enforce licensing legislation. Having made extensive enquiries we have not identified any other Authority whose position differs from our own and we consider that action taken by this Authority is lawful, justified and proportionate. In the absence of a fresh judicial decision or a change in primary legislation this sets out the Council's legal position on this point.

Mr Gall was informed some while ago by both myself and the then Director of Tourism and Corporate Services that this Council had reached a stage where it was unable to enter into any further discussion on the subject and that it would not be an appropriate use of Council taxpayers money to do so. This stance was supported formally by the social and Community Committee.

Mr Gall lodged a complaint against the Council with the Ombudsman. The Council was totally exonerated by the Ombudsman.

My final point on the matter is that we are now only 12-18 months away from the newly published Licensing Bill being enacted. The Bill seeks to redress many of the current anomalies with regard to liquor and entertainment licensing of which the "two in a bar2 rule is one. I therefore believe that reopening this well-worn debate at this stage would be counter-productive.

I trust that you find the above information useful, but if you do want more information, please ask Sue Moore or myself.

Yours sincerely

Tom Grainger
Chief Executive

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council
Tel 01305 838229

tomgrainger@weymouth.gov.uk


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: IanC
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 12:28 PM

I do think that it's about time we decided to set about boycotting the council-sponsored Weymouth Folk Festival.

This council is one of very few in the country who consistently take action which is clearly anti-folk. The idea of them sponsoring a folk festival is anathema. The idea of them sponsoring a successful folk festival is UNTHINKABLE.

Sorry, but I think we need to make an example.

:-(


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 03:52 PM

Protest at 'unfair' entertainment licensing laws after musicians quit pub.

LANDLORD MAKES A SONG AND DANCE AT LOST TRADE.

By MATT PITMAN
matt.pitman@dorsetecho.co.uk

A LANDLORD is making a song and dance after folk musicians using his pub quit over "unfair" entertainment laws.
Alan Radford, who runs the new Star Inn in Fortuneswell on Portland with his wife Chistine, claims he has lost trade after a group of musicians walked out in protest at rules which state a licence is needed for more than two people providing entertainment in pubs.

Mr Radford says the group of up to 20 musicians regularly met in his pub over the last five years to practise, but quit when Weymouth and Portland Borough council bosses demanded the pub obtain an entertainment licence.

The musicians, who are campaigning against proposals they fear could mean making music in public a crime, took their custom instead to pubs in Weymouth protected by licences.

But Mr Radford is dumbfounded as to why council bosses cracked down on the New Star when, he claims, he is doing nothing wrong.

He said. "The musicians have never been paid and have simply used the bar as somewhere to come and practise. I don't regard what they have been doing as live music."

Mr Radford said he had operated the sessions without any complaints over recent years. "When I received the letter I told the group they could use the skittle alley room to practise but they were not happy about that and went elsewhere. It is sad to see because they came here for a number of years and I've lost a lot of trade over what is an unfair situation", he said.

ACTIVITY

In a letter to South Dorset MP Jim Knight, local campaigner Roger Gall says; "Portland has lost a perfectly safe, beneficial community cultural activity to its larger neighbour and in an area that is in dire need of such benefits."


Mr Knight, who organised a recent meeting of Labour MPs with Culture Minister Kim Howells on the issue, said he was saddened to hear of the incident. He added that his talks with Mr Howells indicated that legislation currently going through Parliament could see publicans apply for 'all in one' licenses covering opening hours and entertainment, in the future.

He said. "This particular folk session did not seem to be causing any kind of problem. I'm currently investigating whether the Human Rights Act contradicts the current legislation the borough uses and if they can use a more liberal approach in the future."


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 04:35 PM

The Weymouth Folk Festval


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 08:26 AM

Not sure why The Bull, Stony Stratford session is on the list, as it has never closed. I think an amplified gig in June had to be cancelled and I do know that the landlord has since obtained a PEL. The Cannon in Newport Pagnell was busted in June, but with the renewal of the PEL the session is (I believe) up and running again. The Folk Club at the Cannon definitely is.

BJ


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 08:33 AM

All of these have been affected, terminally in some cases, by local authority enforcement and all of this enforcement is broadly based on the interpretation of the 'two in a bar rule' that members of the public, making music, are counted as performers in a public entertainment.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 15 Jan 03 - 05:16 AM

Thanks Roger. I just wanted to make it clear to anyone misled by words such as 'killed' and 'R.I.P' that those particular sessions are very much alive.

BJ


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: GUEST,ET
Date: 15 Jan 03 - 06:25 AM

No wish to use this thread to get on to an obsessional topic of mine but these closures are under the provisions of the Licensing Act 1961. The new bill does away with the two in a bar rule but replaces it with a none in a bar rule unless there is a PEL obtained as part of the new pub licence (at no extra cost but Local Authority conditions can add greatly to this). Also any one in the vicinity (not defined) can object and no doubt on seeing the word music, will imagine loud amplification and will object. This could kill the session but allow the licensee to intall loud pre recorded amplified music. See the Petition threat and the tremendous work by Hamish Birchell of the Musicians Union. So far the government, as usual, is deaf to protests!


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Jan 03 - 08:42 AM

Thanks Roger. I just wanted to make it clear to anyone misled by words such as 'killed' and 'R.I.P' that those particular sessions are very much alive.

The only ay they are now very much alive, as is the Cove House Inn session is now, is bacause the licensees obtained or re-applied for the the PEL. The only way these local authorities would permit them to continue. The New Star is dead, as the licensee was not prepared to do this, as he did not consider that this was a public entertainment that required one.

The point is that this is possible because the wording of the current legislation is 'wooly and allows LAs to use it to whatever end they wish. That is why it important not to forget what is currently happening as the new legislation will be even more open to abuse.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 15 Jan 03 - 02:39 PM

You're missing my point, Roger. I know perfectly well what and why we're fighting --- I'm on enough of your threads (often praising your persistence) and I'm on the petition (number 339). I'm simply pointing out that people might look at that list and assume that the sessions at Stony and Newport are no longer in existence, and so not turn up, and maybe tell their friends it's not worth turning up...and so on. Which would be a bit counter-productive.

BJ


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Jan 03 - 03:35 PM

BJ I have taken and corrected your concern, the list clearly says that those listed have been affected, but only some of them terminally.

I only went on (haltingly) to state here the important fact that if any of the listed events did continue, This was only due to the fact that the licensee obtained a PEL. This was not intended as a personal critism as all positive contributions on this issue are valued.

I can only do so much. The list was only produced as it was suggested the threads made it difficult to find out the larger picture. As you know it is always recommended that if people are intending to visit such events, that they check with the premises first. I regret if someone makes the assumption from the list alone that it is not worth checking if one of these listed has been enabled, but I don't see what else I can do.

The list did originally appear in and as a requested summary of the thread containing the list of events affected, and there it was (and still is) possible to check the details of each event by referring to this thread. Which was called Killed by the PEL system If this thread title was misleading blame that there Kevin *Smiles*


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 15 Jan 03 - 06:36 PM

Right, that settles it then -- it's all Kevin's fault!

BJ


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jan 03 - 08:26 AM

The extensive 18th January Daily Telegraph article, with a photo of and comments from Eliza Carthy can be found on the following. Also reference to the New Star session and the council's policy.

&sSheet=/arts/2003/01/18/ixartleft.html>http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2003/01/18/bmbill18.xml
&sSheet=/arts/2003/01/18/ixartleft.html


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jan 03 - 08:29 AM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2003/01/18/bmbill18.xml&sSheet=/arts/2003/01/18/ixartleft.html


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jan 03 - 06:13 AM

Relevant extract from the Daily Telegraph article.

Battle over 'last orders' for music
(Filed: 18/01/2003)
Musicians and publicans fear that the new Licensing Bill will impose a tax on music-making that many will be unable to pay. By Colin Randall
[snip]

In fairness, Howells also deplores local authorities that may have latched on to the debate and, exploiting existing legislation, demanded licence fees from pubs with the most informal of sessions. Musicians claim dozens of events have been closed as a result.

One council, Weymouth and Portland, ignored a harmless weekly singaround at the New Star, a small Portland pub run by Alan Radford and his wife, for five years before warning just before Christmas that they needed a PEL costing £220.

Unable to meet the expense from meagre takings, the Radfords offered the folkies use of their skittle alley as a private club exempt from current law. The singers declined and have departed to a Weymouth pub with a PEL.

"They were like part of the family," says Christine Radford, who says she has been driven by red tape and diminishing income to consider quitting the licensed trade. "I was in tears on their last night."

Tom Grainger, the council's chief executive, points out that 30 per cent of licensed premises in the area have PELs and would protest if a blind eye were turned to others. He denies that the council approach has changed and says it is "most unfortunate" that Eliza Carthy and other musicians are urging a boycott of the council-sponsored folk festival in May.[snip]


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 08:32 AM

Tom Grainger in a letter 31 August 2001, after our meeting.

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).

After this letter he was presented with much evidence but ignored it. Sadly he now has the evidence of his own council's actions. But still does not care...............


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 09:31 PM

New session The Ship Weymouth


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Nov 03 - 01:43 PM

It is now a year since the New Star session was prevented but the struggle continues to enable it and other unpaid sessions to be free from being classed as public entertainment under current legislation.

I had a meeting today with the (elected) Chairman of the Licensing Committee (who agrees with us) and the council's new legal officer (who does not).

The result of this meeting was that a report is to be prepared and presented to the next (December) meeting of the Licensing Committee to enable the elected members - as the Licensing Authority - to decide on the meaning of the word performer. If they decide on a narrow interpretation - one who is paid to perform - this will enable unpaid sessions here without PELs and enable the New Star to re-start - if only for the last few months of the life of the current legislation.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Nov 03 - 01:59 PM

I thought that I had posted this (January 2003) message from my MP Jim Knight - but I had not - so I will. Tom is the council's Chief Executive.

I have spoken several times on this with Tom in the last week or so. He has decided that he can not justify allocated more time to this issue, particularly given the Council s current difficulties. He also tells me that the letter to the Blue Bell [The New Star} did not close them down it advised them that they have been informed that they might have activities that may require a PEL. Tom argues that this was a minimal light touch response. He does not feel that his environmental health officers have the time to go around disrupting events in pubs that proceed without complaint.

I know this may not seem helpful but it is as far as I've got.


Jim


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 02:44 PM

Just to keep folk up-to-date. The following letter is from me.

December 9 2003
Dear Councillor Ellis
Report for the members of the Licensing Committee:
Members of the public as 'performers' re S 182 of The Licensing Act 1964.


Just to confirm that on the 28 November 2003 a three-way meeting was held in the council offices between – you, myself and Helen Livesey – Council Legal Officer. It was agreed at this meeting that the officers would prepare a report to be submitted to the next (December) meeting of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council's Licensing Committee. No date has yet been given for this meeting.

The purpose of this report was to advise the Committee (as the local Licensing Authority) with a view to changing the current broad interpretation of the word 'performer' to a narrow one like- one paid to perform ( to an audience)


The officer's report for the meeting set for 9 February 2004 contains one recommendtion. To affirm the contents of a letter dated 18th December 2003 from Ian Locke, Corporate Director (Community Services) to Jim Knight MP.

This is a copy of that letter sent in reply to the following question from Jim Knight MP. "I would be grateful for your time in responding to my constituent's questions. Is the council willing to review its current policy regarding entertainment at the New Star?" I will leave you to judge whether this question has been answered. The point being is that if the Committee do as the officer's recommend and affirm Mr Locke's letter - the whole issue will have been cleverly side-stepped - yet again.

18 December 2003 Dear Jim

Your letter of 11th November 2003 has been passed to me by Tom Grainger and I am grateful to you for your forbearance which has allowed me to research the matter extensively.

It might perhaps assist if I firstly set out the provisions which currently apply to public entertainment licensing. As you may already know, current licensing of public entertainment is governed by Schedule 1 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1982.

The effect of paragraph 1 is to require a local authority to licence any place where public dancing, music or other public entertainment of a like kind occurs subject to certain exemptions (none of which relate to music being performed in a public house). It is therefore the premises and not the performers who require the licence and there is no exemption within the act for performances which are provided free of charge to the public.

Interestingly, one of the exemptions to the licensing requirement is in respect of public entertainment held on private land wholly or mainly in the open air. It is possible to sensibly conclude that Parliament enacted the licensing of premises, rather than performers, for the purpose of ensuring the safety of the public who are likely to be present in those premises when the public entertainment takes place, as opposed to public entertainment on open land where the public would have quick and easy opportunity to leave should any problems occur during the course of the entertainment.

Mr Gall makes reference to a court decision from 1899 where impromptu performances by customers were not licensable. However, the 1982 Act specifies the nature of the entertainment to be licensed and does not provide any exemption for "free" entertainment: if the activity proposed is within the statutory category whether it is free of charge to those attending is irrelevant.

He also refers to the "two in the bar rule" introduced by Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964, exempting music and singing in licensed premises either solely by reproduction of recorded sound or no more than two performers. The Courts have interpreted this exemption extremely narrowly and in a 2002 decision (case of Sean Toye v Southwark London Borough Council, (extract of which is enclosed) held that even karaoke entertainment necessitated the premises to be licensed. Again, the question of payment for performance was irrelevant to the outcome of this case.

Mr Gall may be comforted by the fact that Section 177 of the Licensing Act 2003 will, (providing the requirements contained within sub-sections (1) and (2) of it are met) mean that unamplified live music or facilities to enable persons to take part in it, will not require to be licensed. However, the implementation of this Act has been greatly delayed and it is now expected that the earliest date the new licensing provisions will come into effect will be June 2004 and it may even be as late as September of that year.

As you will appreciate the Council has to act within its statutory powers and has no discretion to apply the legislation other than in the format which it is. As it currently stands enacted the playing of live music (amplified or not) which does not fall within the two categories contained within Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 will require the premises to be licensed and the Council would be acting ultra vires if it determined otherwise. I understand that this may be frustrating for Mr Gall but until Section 177 of the Licensing Act 2003 is brought into force, the Council can only proceed in accordance with existing statutory provisions and case law in respect of all premises within its district where public entertainment is proposed to occur.

I trust I have set out the Council's position clearly but if you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

IAM LOCKE CORPORATE DIRECTOR (COMMUNITY SERVICES)
   

Hamish Birchall has sent the following letter to Jim Knight MP and copied this to Mr Locke.

Dear Jim

I refer to your letter to Roger Gall dated 14 January 2004, and Ian Locke's letter to you, ref DCS, dated 18 December 2003.

I am sorry to see at this advanced stage of debate that both you and Mr Locke persist in fundamental misunderstandings about the present and future law relating to the performance of live music. Mr Locke's errors are the more serious because they appear to be the basis for an active council policy, and may have mislead councillors and the public, albeit unintentionally.

Mr Locke is quite simply wrong to say that the council has 'no discretion' in its application of the existing law. I attended the Toye case at the High Court on 21 February 2002. Toye v Southwark has not determined that s.182 of the Licensing Act 1964 means only the same two performers are allowed (whether paid or not). After the judgement, one of the two judges made 'obiter' comment supporting that particular nuance of interpretation. The other judge did not share that view. In any event, obiter is not persuasive, or indeed necessarily relevant to the question about whether members of the public automatically count as 'performers' under s.182 if they sing or play music together informally in a pub.

Nor indeed has the Toye case determined that 'even karaoke necessitated the premises to be licensed'. The reason karaoke is licensable (and the courts had pronounced on this some years before Toye) is simply because s.182 explicitly and unambiguously disallows the combination of a live singer and the reproduction of recorded sound.

What the Toye case principally considered was whether the use of digitally encrypted instructions (i.e. MIDI) constituted 'the reproduction of recorded sound'. Against all the expert testimony, the court found that MIDI did constitute the reproduction of recorded sound, and the entertainment was thus licensable. Incidentally, the judges' interpretation of the expression 'recorded sound' is so broad that it covers even sheet music. Sheet music is without question a form of 'recorded sound'. It can be played by a PC equipped with a scanner and the appropriate software. This in turn means that one musician reading sheet music is a combination of live performance and the reproduction of recorded sound. Such entertainment in liquor licensed premises is, therefore technically licensable. Since Mr Locke is so keen to enforce the law 'as it is' I wonder why he is equally keen to enforce this effect of the Toye judgement?

Mr Locke is wrong again about the 1899 precedent in which a licensee was found not guilty of providing unlicensed public entertainment (Brearley v Morely). The law report did not refer to 'impromptu' music sessions. It clearly states that the music was a regular, weekly (and sometimes twice weekly) event. This very important point was brought out very clearly by Robin Allen QC in his opinions about the incompatibility of s.182 and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

So, Mr Locke's arguments and conclusions are based on basic misunderstandings about the present law. In spite of the Toye case, s.182 remains open to interpretation. Moreover, as Mr Locke well knows, where there is a potential conflict with European Convention rights, the council is bound by the Human Rights Act to read and give effect to the existing legislation so far as possible compatibly with those rights. In other words, the council has a statutory obligation to adopt the more relaxed interpretation.

Lastly, both you and Mr Locke have made a fundamental mistake about s.177 of the Licensing Act 2003. It does not exempt premises from being licensed to host performances of live music, whether amplified or unamplified, professional or amateur. All it does is offer a limited alleviation from potential licence conditions in certain circumstances. Before this concession may be applied, the premises must still obtain the licensing permission to host performances, or they will be illegal. You of all people should remember this, Jim. You participated in the Commons licensing committee and took a close interest in the debate.

There might be some progress with Weymouth council if Mr Locke would say whether he can specify any risk arising from the performance of informal, unamplified live music in a pub that cannot be addressed by subsisting legislation, irrespective of entertainment licensing. Perhaps you might write to him putting that question.

Yours sincerely
Hamish Birchall


I will inform you of the outcome of this meeting - but I am not very hopeful.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 06:19 PM

As usual Hamish is virtually letter perfect, and there is little even a pedants pedant such as I can disagree with in his learned discourse.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 01:58 AM

Any thoughts on the 'extensively researched' comments of Mr Locke? Especially that the advice he is giving to his council about s 177 of the Licensing Act 2003 is likely to be the same incorrect advice as every other local authority will be giving.

Your letter of 11th November 2003 has been passed to me by Tom Grainger and I am grateful to you for your forbearance which has allowed me to research the matter extensively.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 09:34 AM

Dorset Echo February 10 2004
Call for clarification on entertainment licences


'Hamstrung' councillors to protest to Government over current legislation
By Huw Griffith
huw.griffith@dorsetecho.co.uk

Councillors are going to the top for a ruling on public entertainment licences. Menbers of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council's licensing committee last night resolved to write to the Government expressing their annoyance about the fact that they are hamstrung by legislation on public entertainment.

Current rules dictate that pubs and other venues need an entertainment licence if more than two people are performing in an organised concert. Councillors expressed concerns that the legal definition of 'performer' was too wide and included unpaid entertainers, such as folk bands.

Coun Jim Holt said this definition was discouraging performances from taking place, detracting from the vibrancy of the live music scene in the borough. "This doesn't encourage people to get licenses for their events, it just stops them happening and I think that's' unfortunate," he said.

Folk musician Roger Gall, whose performances at the Cove House Inn on Portland have been at the centre of a licensing row, spoke at the meeting, asking councillors to consider adopting a narrower definition of 'performer'.

He proposed: "One who is paid or obligated to stage a performance of public entertainment to an audience."

But officers advising councillors said the definition was set in law and was a matter for courts to decide, not for members of the committee. Jane Eames, locum legal services manager said the licensing committee's job in this respect was simply to apply this definition.

Mrs Eames said a new licensing act would come into force this year, which would mean the borough council would have far more scope to determine what did and what did not need a licence. She said until the new act the committee had a duty to apply the law as it currently stood.

The committee resolved to write to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport expressing their dissatisfaction at the current law. And asking for clarification. Councillor Brian Ellis said: "It seems to me perverse that elected members are being told that they can't make definitions within their own borough. "We have got to air our frustration on not being able to make our own policy on this"

You can judge for yourselves if the Committee is indeed 'humstrung'. For this following Government advice has been supplied to them and it is difficult to see the DCMS providing a much different one now. It seems rather clear to me that the definition of the word 'performer' is one for the Licensing Committee - as the local Licensing Authority to decide?

Licensed Premises: Entertainment Legislation
House of Lords Monday 11 December 2000
2.53 p.m. The Lord Bishop of Oxford asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether, under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964, members of the public count as "performers" if they sing on licensed premises; and, if so, how local authorities can enforce public entertainment licensing legislation in a proportionate manner that is compatible with performers' rights under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): My Lords, Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 exempts licensed premises from the need to obtain a public entertainment licence where the entertainment provided consists of music and singing by not more than two performers. Whether members of the public who sing on licensed premises count as performers is a matter for the licensing authority to decide, depending on the circumstances. Ultimately, the compatibility of this provision with the European Convention on Human Rights would be a matter for the courts to determine.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 10:58 AM

Good Lord even an MP who "participated in the Commons licensing committee" doesn't realise just how limited in scope the "Small Events Clause" actually is. Perhaps if more MPs did realise just how little this clause actually permits, there could be some pressure brought to bear, in order to get it altered to be independant of an Entertainments Licence in the first place.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 10:59 AM

Humstrung?!!!


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Feb 04 - 02:45 AM

Should you wish to wite to the Echo - Emails require your full postal address but they will not print it in full and the more concise the better (I should talk). letters@dorsetecho.co.uk


letters@dorsetecho.co.uk


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Feb 04 - 08:45 AM

Letter as published in The Dorset Echo 18 February 2004.

'Hamstrung councillors to protest to Government over current legislation ' said the Echo headline above a report (February 10) about the latest Weymouth and Portland Borough Council licensing committee discussion about public entertainment licenses.

I attended the meeting and having heard the officer's advice to councillors I can well understand the confusion reported and the call for 'clarification'

However, I question that the councillors are hamstrung - by legislation or the Government. They were presented with an extract from Hansard, from the proceedings of Monday, December 11, 2000 that made it clear that the matter was one for the licensing committee to decide.

From the House of Lords on that date, it reads: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): My Lords, Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 exempts licensed premises from the need to obtain a public entertainment licence where the entertainment provided consists of music and singing by not more than two performers. Whether members of the public who sing on licensed premises count as performers is a matter for the licensing authority to decide, [*…….…*]. Ultimately, the compatibility of this provision with the European Convention on Human Rights would be a matter for the courts to determine.

So in reference to who is regarded as a performer, whatever the council's advising officers may have said, I suggest that it is not right to say that the definition was set in law and was a matter for courts to decide, rather than members of the committee.

The definition is NOT set in law. The legislation itself does NOT define what a performer is, and the leading expert on licensing law advises that there is NO case law that has legally determined the word.

Most worrying is that officers also advise that the law does not allow the council any discretion in this process. This means that if you and two friends were to insist on singing the National Anthem every Friday night you could be considered (along with possibly every other pub customer present) as performers in a public entertainment. The officers would claim that your singing will have automatically made the pub unsafe and if the licensee did not stop you or pay for an additional Public Entertainment Licence from the council, the licensee would be prosecuted and face a possible £20,000 fine or 6 months in prison.

The meeting convinced me that the council officer's current broad interpretation of performer, is one that licensing officers prefer and which they advise this Council to hold to because they fear that a more just and sensible definition would be more difficult for them to enforce.

Roger Gall

[Note - The following part of Lord Bassam's quote was supplied in my letter but not published - *depending on the circumstances*].


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Feb 04 - 05:48 PM

Letter as published in the Dorset Echo 25 February 2004.

'Performers': the council decides

There is no need for Roger gall (letters, February 18) to refer to Hansard for the answer to the question of who should determine what "performer" means in the context of public entertainment licensing. The stance of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council's officers is simply contradictory.

If the definition is "set in law" then it can be quoted from the relevant statute or case, and there is no need for the courts to be involved. If, on the other hand, the courts must decide, it is because there is no set definition. The courts will only need to get involved where an authority has come up with a definition and it has been challenged.

As the advising officers have apparently confirmed that there is no quotable definition, then we must be in the second situation. The council is therefore free to define "performer" however it wishes, albeit subject to a possible legal challenge.

As the council is presumably unlikely to challenge itself, however, then so long as the definition adopted is acceptable to local licensees there does not appear to be a risk of the council ending up in any legal bother.

Andrew Jackson
Cowes
Isle of Wight


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 05:32 PM

LICENSING COMMITTEE
MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON
9TH FEBRUARY 2004

58.        PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT LICENSING

        The Committee considered the report of the Licensing Manager and correspondence from Mr Roger Gall and Jim Knight MP. The Licensing Manager introduced the item and set out the Council's position with regard to public entertainment licensing. Members were circulated with a briefing note prepared by the Locum Legal Services Manager.

        The Committee heard a representation from Mr Gall who made reference to Section 182 of the 1964 Act regarding two or more performers. He referred to a case concerning the Cove House Inn who were advised in December 2000 to discontinue performances or face prosecution where more than two persons were performing. Mr Gall felt that the Justices Licences should be adequate to cover such cases. He also stated that the Council could face legal challenge under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act.

Mr Gall urged the Committee to adopt a definition of performer to one who is paid or obligated to stage a performance to an audience.

In reply to a question as to whether the Council could adopt a policy defining 'performer' for the purposes of Public Entertainment Licences the Locum Legal Services Manager advised Members that each case needed to be considered on its merits in accordance with statutory requirements and the definition of 'performer' based on case law. This assessment would be carried out by the Licensing Manager in consultation with the Legal Department in accordance with the policy agreed by the Social/Community Committee.

The Committee then discussed what the definition of an impromptu performance might be as opposed to one which was planned in advance. It was acknowledged that members of the public who sing together could constitute an impromptu performance.

In reply to a question the Locum Legal Services Manager stated that she was not aware of any local authorities who took an alternative view to using statutory requirements and case law to determine individual cases. She referred to the Ombudsman decision in respect of the Cove House Inn case which stated that it was satisfied with the Council's enforcement of the 1982 Act. The Licensing Manager advised Members that the Cove House Inn had advertised the event in the local newspaper and on an advertising board outside the premises.

Members felt that it was not possible for them, within existing legislation, to establish a policy for determining such cases and that the present system of the Licensing Manager determining licensing matters by applying statutory requirements and case law should be confirmed.

However, whilst the Committee noted that under the new Licensing Act 2003 the Committee would be able to adopt guidance, they felt that clarification regarding current practice was necessary.

RESOLVED:-        That the Locum Legal Services Manager write to the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport for clarification on the legality of local authorities setting down policy defining 'impromptu performances' in relation to public entertainment licensing under current legislation.

59.        DATES OF NEXT MEETINGS

        RESOLVED:-        That the dates for the next meetings be 23rd March and 11th May 2004 at 3.30pm.

I am not sure if this was the meeting I attended where the members were told by the offices that the law would not permit them to decide a policy that the Social and Community Committee [now defunct] was told the law would allow the members to establish and decide in 2001?

It would seem as if the members are only allowed by law to do what the members wish them to decide.

Despite this nonsense smoke-screen - the simple fact is that as the word 'performer' is not defined in the legislation and not legally determined by any case law - the Committee could choose - perfectly legally - any definition they wished - to issue as guidance to the Licensing Manager. As the current interpretation is not compatible with the ECHR - the Council MUST change it.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 07:42 AM

As mentioned before but not included in the minutes - the Chairman did ask me if I wished to be involved in the drafting of the Council's letter to the DCMS. However, I was not asked to be involved and the following letter was sent on 10th March 2004.

I suspect that contact has already been made and the civil servant at the other end will provide the answer that the officers require. As you will see there is no reference in the letter to the particular issue under S 182 of the Licensing Act 1964. And why the 17th February 2002 letter from the Ombudsman is enclosed and NOT Lord Bassam's reply in Hansard to the specific question in the Lords - I will leave you to answer.

For the attention of the Legal Advisor
Department of Media and Sport
2 Cockspur Street
LONDON
SW1Y 5DH

10th March 2004

Dear Sirs

LICENSING OF PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENTS

On 9th February 2003 [S/B 2004] the Licensing Committee of this Council considered when the need for a Licence under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 arose. A copy of the Minutes of that meeting is attached marked '1' and I would particularly ask that you note the Committee's resolution which has prompted this letter to you.

In order that you will be fully aware of the position I also enclose marked '2' and '3' respectively the briefing note provided to Members at the Committee setting out the perceived legal position and a letter from the Ombudsman dated 17th February 2002.

In accordance with the Committee's wishes as resolved I would be pleased to receive any advice you feel it appropriate to give.

Yours faithfully

Jane Eames
Locum Head of Legal Services
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: GUEST,Sleepy
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 12:45 PM

I am fairly new hear and have I have just read most of this. If I ever get stuck in an elavator with The Shambles, could someone remember to shoot me please?


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 11:15 AM

Still no word from the Council - but.......

The session at The Boot Inn Weymouth, is no more. This is where many of New Star participants eventually found a home (for a time).

The story is that the latest licensee took over the pub and inherited (happily) the Wednesday session. However he was advised by the previous licensee to obtain a PEL. He had a visit from the Council's enforcement officer who advised that it was unlikely that he would be bothered by the Council but that it would be a good idea to obtain the PEL in case anyone complained. He set about this and got the forms and went as far as placing the public notice on the window.

I met him today and I found him to be a nice bloke, new to the trade, who loves the pub, likes the music and is trying to do the right thing. He was a bit surprised that the enforcement officer did not inform him that the Council were in fact discussing on the 9th February, the very point that made the Wednesday session problematic and his other, (duo) conventional entertainment OK.

Either the officer did not know or is confident that this reckless, damaging and legally unsupported interpretation will continue to be imposed upon us by our officers, whatever the expert legal advice is saying to the contrary or whatever the wishes of the elected members and public. I left a copy of the 9 February minutes with him (above).

He had gone into the cost of obtaining the PEL (new wiring etc) - and it was this cost that made him decide not apply for the PEL but to reluctantly stop the session instead. The last session held was on Wednesday 7 April 2004.

It would seem to me that he is in a good position. For he has stopped the session (based on the officer's advice) and chosen not to apply for the PEL. This proves to the Council (if it needed proving) that their current policy/interpretation/position/view is directly preventing these activities, with no specific safety concern, and is not selling many PELs.

It is ironic that we have now lost two sessions locally that were never advertised at all - but two (open mics) continue to be openly advertised every week - without any action being taken. These venues not appearing on the latest list of local PELs.

There is little doubt that the regulars would have expected their session at the Boot to be part of the 3rd Council organised festival due in May. However, this was never going to be, as the details of this 'illegal' activity could have never appeared in the Council produced programme, could it? So this festival's weekend session custom looks set to go the Weymouth pubs - with no track record of supporting folk music through the year but who have paid the Council their 'protection' money.

If the law supported this interpretation - we would all have to just accept it. However, we know that the law DOES NOT. If this licensee decides to fight - the Council will have to prosecute to try and prove that the law supports the idea that unpaid pub customers making music, MUST be considered as 'performers' in a public entertainment.

Why for example, are the officers not maintaining that customers singing along with a conventional paid but exempt duo - are also performers in a public entertainment? Where is the difference? The two main organisers of the Boot session could play and advertise and still be exempt. It is only when others join in - that the problem occurs. If the officers can prove that those joining in are (more than two) 'performers' in the temporary employ of the licensee - they may have a chance of winning in court, but how can they be expected to prove this - for they are clearly not?


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 03:49 PM

Put your money where your mouth is, take a lease on a pub and argue your case where it counts - in court.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Apr 04 - 08:17 AM

The session at The Boot Inn Weymouth, is no more. This is where many of New Star participants eventually found a home (for a time).

Just to add the element of farce, I forgot to mention that the Boot, where this illegal activity found a temporary home - and remained an undetected danger to the public's safety for 6 months or so - is right next to the Council's offices!!


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: Bluegrasser
Date: 20 Apr 04 - 05:28 PM

Hmmm....
Yes it was sad that the BOOT went, but you can't blame the council for upholding the law. Funny, though, that they don't seem to act unless someone brings it to their attention (consider it, 6 months, right next to the Council Offices??). So, to that fine, morally upright,righteous citizen, who clearly considered a bunch of folkies to be a public hazard, I can only say "get a life, you sad b*****r!"


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: Folkiedave
Date: 20 Apr 04 - 05:50 PM

The council (at least in Sheffield) will ignore any laws that suit them and apply any laws that suit them.

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 09:45 AM

So, to that fine, morally upright,righteous citizen, who clearly considered a bunch of folkies to be a public hazard, I can only say "get a life, you sad b*****r!"

It is a little puzzling for me to understand the need to apportion blame anywhere but where it clearly belongs. It is clear from speaking to him, that the fine, morally upright,rightous citizen who brought this session to the officer's attention - was the (new) licensee.

As this licensee is the one who is placed at risk by the participants and faces a possible £20,000 fine or 6 months in prison - it is not a little harsh to blame them?

It is also very clear that these officers are NOT following the law.


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 02:12 AM

See also

The Weymouth Folk Festival


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 May 04 - 05:58 AM

Last week I rang the Council's Legal Dept, to see if they had received a reply from the DCMS. The action to write this letter was decided by the Licensing Committee on the 9 February 2004 and the letter (without any input from me or my knowledge) was finally sent a full month later on 10 March 2004.

I received today, the following copy of a chase-up letter from the Council.

4th May 2004

Dear Sirs

LICENSING OF PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENTS

I note that I have not yet had a response to my letter of 10th March 2004 a further copy of which I enclose for your information and use.

Although I appreciate the impending licensing regime change will be heavily occupying your Department's time and resources I would be grateful for a response as soon as possible please.

Yous faithfully
Jane Eames
Locum head of Legal Resources


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Aug 04 - 06:55 AM

The locum has departed and we are now back with the original one - who does not appear to wish to provide the Licensing Committee with the clarification they requested, some six moths ago. I have just sent the following.

At 18:20 24/08/04 +0100, Melanie Earnshaw wrote:

The Councils priority is the successful implementation of the new licensing regime. In order to achieve this it is necessary to focus resources on what is a substantial undertaking for this small local authority. Unfortunately this means that we do not have the resources to respond further to the points you raise.

As set out in my e-mail to you of 22 July we would value your contribution to the formulation of the Councils Local Licensing Policy and Model Conditions which are currently out to public consultation.


Dear Melanie

I think we will find that this authority was roughly the same size (if not in fact smaller) in December 2000. Enough resources were available then for the officers to make 4 visits, to 'encourage' the (then) licensee of the Cove House Inn to obtain a PEL. To write to threaten them with prosecution and a possible £20,000 fine or 6 months in prison, if they continued to permit a folk music session. Which consisted of non amplified instruments and unpaid pub customers, that had never received any complaint. And again to write and prevent the long-running New Star session in 2003 and the session at the Boot in 2004.

Do I take it that before February 2005, you are now giving me permission in this message to start up such a folk session or hold a gig with more than two members, in a pub with no PEL?

That if I do, that I can tell the licensee that the current legislation will not now be enforced because this small local authority does not now have the resources to correctly enforce the current law of the land and as a result intends to knowingly fail in its statutory duty and place the public at risk?

I look forward to receiving the latest information (under the current licensing legislation) that I requested and your office had earlier indicated was forthcoming.

And further trust that some serious consideration and objective assistance is finally given to the members to prevent the continuing danger presented to folk activities, by these being caught up and prevented by public entertainment legislation, that was never intended for this use. On the 9th February 2004 - the Licensing Committee asked for written clarification of the officer's advice. I trust that some six months later - this can now be provided, to enable the members to change the policy, (if they decide to) set (by default) by the (then) Social /Community Committee on 5 June 2001?

Despite the officers advice to the members on the 9th February 2004, that the law did not permit the members to change this policy, I feel there really can be little doubt that this policy was a matter for the members to decide. For in 2001, the officers had felt that they required (retrospective) endorsement from the elected members of the (then) Social and Community Committee for enforcement action taken, based on this (broad) interpretation of the word 'performer'.

This was given on 5 June 2001 and this effectively (if by default) became the local (broad) interpretation used in the borough. This fact was even recorded in the minutes of the 9th February meeting Para 58, referring to "the policy, agreed by the Social/Community Committee." It would appear obvious, that if the members were required to set this policy they were fully empowered and entitled to also change it if they so wished. My wish (made through my ward councillor) is simply for the members to be permitted by their officers to make an informed policy decision based on all the evidence and expert legal advice presented to them - and to change the policy, if they wish to.

It appears that with the help of many well-intentioned councillors, I have spent four years simply trying to 'get the horse to the water' and the officers would appear to have spent this time trying to ensure that the horse never did get there. There has never been a committee decision NOT to change the policy - we have simply never got to that point, YET!

When we eventually do - the officers can then make their case that - the (damaging) policy -that any unpaid member of the public making any music in a pub, MUST be considered as a 'performer' in a public entertainment - is the best and fairest policy for all those in this borough. The members can then consider if this policy is one they wish to or can continue to defend to their voters. As in these four years, I have never spoke to any councillor who DID support this interpretation as being the best one for all those in the borough- it remains a mystery why this remains the local policy............... Well in truth, not that much of a mystery - but I do strongly feel that the best policy should be always be made by those elected to do so. And I will continue to ensure that it is, under both current and future legislation.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: The New Star Session R.I.P. PELs
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 06:33 AM

In August 2004 I asked my (new) ward councillor to write to the legal officer on my behalf asking for "straightforward answers" to be provided. On the 5 November 2004 I was finally provided by the councillor, with the reply - dated 6 September 2004!!!

[Not that the following was really worth waiting for.]

Thank you for your letter of 29 August regarding questions forwarded to you by your constituent Mr Gall.

In response to e-mails from Mr Gall in July and August I explained that the Council's priority was the sucessful implementation of the new licensing regime ans available resources need to be focused on this work. Consequently Council officers did not have the capacity   
to respond further to the points raised. Mr Gall was also invited to particpate in the consultation process in preparation for formulation of the Council's Local Licensing Policy and model conditions.

The only outstanding issues from the Licensing meeting which took place in February were:

A reply to the Locum Head of Legal Services' letter to the department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS)
and
Information regarding possible unlicensed enertainment taking place in premises in the Borough

The answer to these points are:

The DCMS finally replied to the Council's letter by e-mail on 2 September and Mr Gall also received a copy of that advice.
and
The information regarding possible unlicensed entertainment has been noted by the Public Enforcement Officer.

I hope this is of assistance to Mr Gall.

Melaine Earnshaw
Legal and Housing Services Manager


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