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Update on Palm Sesh

GUEST,MC Fat 13 May 04 - 06:30 AM
The Shambles 13 May 04 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 13 May 04 - 11:03 AM
The Shambles 13 May 04 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 14 May 04 - 04:30 AM
The Shambles 14 May 04 - 05:34 AM
YorkshireYankee 14 May 04 - 10:04 PM
GUEST,MC Fat 18 May 04 - 09:03 AM
Folkiedave 18 May 04 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,MC Fat 19 May 04 - 06:23 AM
The Shambles 19 May 04 - 07:34 AM
The Shambles 19 May 04 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 19 May 04 - 08:47 AM
Les from Hull 19 May 04 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 19 May 04 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Sarah 19 May 04 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 19 May 04 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,Sarah 19 May 04 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 19 May 04 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Sarah 19 May 04 - 11:32 AM
The Shambles 19 May 04 - 02:06 PM
Les from Hull 19 May 04 - 02:23 PM
The Shambles 19 May 04 - 04:43 PM
GUEST,MC Fat 20 May 04 - 04:47 AM
The Shambles 20 May 04 - 05:48 AM
GUEST,Sarah 20 May 04 - 06:19 AM
The Shambles 20 May 04 - 06:37 AM
The Shambles 20 May 04 - 06:44 AM
GUEST,Sarah 20 May 04 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,Sarah 20 May 04 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 20 May 04 - 07:37 AM
The Shambles 20 May 04 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Sarah 20 May 04 - 09:59 AM
The Shambles 20 May 04 - 10:19 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 20 May 04 - 10:45 AM
The Shambles 20 May 04 - 11:37 AM
Amos 20 May 04 - 01:16 PM
GUEST 20 May 04 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,MC Fat 21 May 04 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,Sarah 21 May 04 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 21 May 04 - 06:24 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 21 May 04 - 06:46 AM
The Shambles 21 May 04 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 21 May 04 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 24 May 04 - 04:56 AM
The Shambles 24 May 04 - 05:25 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 24 May 04 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 24 May 04 - 09:48 AM
The Shambles 27 May 04 - 10:02 AM
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Subject: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 13 May 04 - 06:30 AM

Spoke to Little Dave (the landlord) he is seriously considering applying for the licence but is going to wait until after he comes back from holiday i.e. beginning of June. However I'm making representations to a local MP (Helen Jackson) and local council. So hopefully we'll be up and running again in June.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 May 04 - 10:24 AM

Perhaps the licensee (with others recently affected) can first explore if there any alternatives, other than closing the session or obtaining the PEL?

Remember that the Council have to prove that the participants were 'performers' and that more than two, will have automatically made these licensed premises unsafe for the public, dispite the pub having to be inspected (by the same Council) and hold a justices's licence.

If you are unsafe now, why did the Council fail to protect you before?


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 13 May 04 - 11:03 AM

As Dave is going on holiday we don't want the relief staff to have to carry any can for any alleged wrong doings. I'm still of the opinion we can get it up and running again without the need for a licence


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 May 04 - 11:52 AM

You don't say how long it had been running? I think if you licensee is agreeable, it would not be a bad idea to at least stand your ground for a while and see how far the officers intend to take it, and approach your councillors in the meantime. It is local election time again, remember.

The other idea is to go on the offensive yourselves, independant of the licensee. Acticle 10 gives the public the right of freedom of expresion and spells out the grounds by which the local authority can legally prevent this. To do this, they would have to prove that the Palm session presented a specific safety concern that could not be addressed by means of the justice's licence. Any idea what this could be? No harm in you asking them.......

I if you have you any regular particpants who would qualify for full legal aid, this might be a real option for you to consider. It would most probably scare the pants off of the council, if it looked as if facing a serious legal challenge on these grounds were possible.

So far the HRA seems only to have been much use to the very rich, like Maddona, or penniless new age travellers who can get full legal aid.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 14 May 04 - 04:30 AM

Session celebrated it's third birthday at Easter. I'm all for going along the political route and the local m.p. already has had crrespondence from a local folikie during the planning stage of the new bill regarding concerns around the tradional carol singing sessions


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 May 04 - 05:34 AM

The following link may give you some good information, that may prove useful to you. Or cause you to just give in? *Smiles*

New Star Session RIP

As you will see dispite having a good case and trying locally for over 4 years, there has been an spectacular lack of success, having lost yet another local session just last month. This dispite much correspondance with two MPS. Many mentions in Parliament, replies from Ministers and the DCMS. Three council meetings and a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

The problem is that whatever the law says, this only matters if and when you can get a court to decide. Until then, as long as they are not challenged by a licensee, the enforcers can claim and tell their councillors, that the law supports whatever they wish it to. Even when the actions are exactly opposite. They have failed in their statutory duty to ensure your safety for three years, but care little about this failure, as it is unlikely that anyone will point this out.

I have found no licensee (understandably) willing to face prosecution and I cannot afford a legal challenge myself - so nothing changes. The current law is on our side, we just have to find a way to make it work, before it is too late and we have to try and make the new law work.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 14 May 04 - 10:04 PM

MC Fat, would it be useful if a number of us were to turn up at one of Helen Jackson's surgeries? Are there any particular councillors it would be helpful to write to about this?

Perhaps we could get a number of Sheffield folkies involved (the more the better) -- in a demonstration or a letter-writing campaign? What about letters to The Star?

Cheers,

YY


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 18 May 04 - 09:03 AM

Current update. Dave (the landlord) is on holiday till end of May so no sesh till June at least. However have sent the following e-mail to John Mothersole (Chief Adminny Person Sheffield City Council) + Jan Wilson (Leader of Council) and the three Walkley Ward Councillors (who include the Lord Mayor Dianne Leek) + Helen Jackson MP for Hillsborough. Have also spoke to Paul License at Sheffield Star and Mark Gibbons from South Riding Folk Network/EFDSS. The memo was writ as follows:-

Dear Sir,
I am writing to you for advice regarding the enforcement of Public Entertainment Licences on licensed premises (namely Public Houses) and in particular the manner in which officers of the council informed a licensee.

Officers from the legal Department visited the licensee David Harrison of the Palm Tree Public House, Palm Street, Walkley, Sheffield onThursday 6th May at around 8.00p.m. to instruct the landlord that the Folk Music Session night which takes place on Thursday evenings, required a Public Entertainment Licence costing some £900 and that they would be return to enforce this order any breach could result in a fine of £6000.

I am the lead musician and singer who has organised this session. We have held these sessions every Thursday for three years and in that time there has never been an incident to cause offence to the public in any way whatsoever. The night has encouraged musicians of all ages and talents to perform and is in the main a celebration of the music of this country, traditional arts which should be fostered. There is no payment to the musicians or me it is simply a joining of people of like interests.

The Public Entertainment Licence scheme as you know has been a subject of much debate and the Musicians Union, The English Folk Dance and Song Society have been instrumental (if you pardon the pun) in advising the relevant department on the new Act and aspects which affect the traditional arts. A number of these recommendations have caused significant changes in the original proposals This act becomes operational in October.

This leads me to my main point. Why are Sheffield City Council in the shape of their officers actively pursuing the enforcement of PELs on acoustic or traditional music sessions ? and why are these officers forceful in their interpretation of these regulations ?

To enforce an old regulation which will only be operative for six months seem churlish and smacks of revenue raising. I can see no benefit whatsoever to the musicians the landlord or the regulars of the pub, in fact the reverse the public have been denied there regular Thursday night entertainment.

With a new act coming on stream surely it would be more prudent to leave enforcement of PEL's (unless for establishments using electrical or PA equipment or for larger public houses)
until the new act is operational then by all means enforce the act in a manner which is fair to all.


I await your answer to this question .

Feel free anyone to contact MP's and councillors use the above if you want. The fight begins now !!!


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 May 04 - 05:17 PM

http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/your-city-council/councillors/a-z-list-of-cllrs
gives you a list of councillors in Sheffield.

Here is a question we might think about,,,,,,how did they know there is a session at the Palm? Palm Street is a real back street and hardly a metropolis. Who told them?

Do they know about the one at the Mustard Pot at Stocksbridge? Or the one at the Nailmakers Arms at Norton?

The Rose and Crown at Stannington has a piano and there is often a sing around there (I think).

And the New Inn at Warminster Road often has a session someone told me.

To be fully serious there is clearly a danger that the Sheffield Carols will be closed by this. And I shall be writing to Helen Jackson a caroller herself with reference to this.

David Blunkett is a caroller also so anyone who is in his constituency might like to write to him.

Caborn of course piloted the Licensing Bill through Parliament at the last minute so he might merit a letter or two.

I have also written to Veronica HArdstaff as my local councillor.

Best regards,

Dave


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 19 May 04 - 06:23 AM

Have received the following reply:-
Chief Executive's
Legal and Administrative Services
Director of Legal and Administrative Services:
Mark Webster, LLB
Town Hall    SHEFFIELD   S1 2HH

Tel:          0114 273 4264
Fax:          0114 273 5410

Our Ref:        LIC/241/SJL
Date:                19th May 2004

Mr J.McDonald
212a Cricket Inn Road
SHEFFIELD
S2 5AT

Dear Sir,

Public Entertainment – Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 and the Licensing Act 2003

Thank you for your letter sent by email to Mr Mothersole, Executive Director, Development, Environment and Leisure on the 17th May 2004, in relation to the enforcement and licensing of "Public Entertainment".

The licensing of "Public Entertainment" is carried out by my Licensing General Section, which is based in the Chief Executives Directorate. The Council has a statutory role with regard to the administration and enforcement of many licensing systems under several pieces of legislation.

The licensing of Public Entertainment is currently governed by the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, Part 1, Schedule 1, (the 1982 Act). My Licensing General Section work regularly at night and at weekends enforcing this and other legislation, the staff have an excellent working partnership with licensees and I think it is fair to say that they have also built a reputation of being honest and fair with potential and / or current licensees.

It was during a normal routine enforcement exercise that we visited the premises concerned (Palm Tree Public House). It is during routine enforcement; or by seeing advertisements in the local press and / or by receiving complaints that staff become aware of unlicensed premises. We have spoken / written to many unlicensed premises in recent weeks from which we have received several applications for licences.

Many Local Authorities do not warn premises / licensees that they are committing an offence and often place matters directly before court. I take a different view, where there is a need for a licence my staff explain the need to the appropriate person. This was done in this case. The landlord of the premises was informed of the requirement; the landlord was asked to consider whether he wished to apply for a licence and informed that failure to have an appropriate licence could lead to prosecution.

For your information it is an offence under the 1982 Act to provide entertainment without a licence [para 12 (1)] for which any person found guilty of an offence shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £20,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.   

The current legislation is likely to remain in place for at least another fifteen months and possibly longer. The Council has a statutory duty to continue to enforce the provisions of the legislation.

Therefore, we must continue to deal with all premises on an equal basis and treat them in a fair and consistent manner, this would not be the case if we ignored other premises carrying out unlicensed activity or waited for new legislation to come in to force.

The legislation deals with safety and amenity and there continues to be cases that affect public safety and the Council regularly receive complaints relating to noise nuisance.

The current legislation like the new Licensing Act 2003 (the 2003 Act) is designed to promote public safety and to prevent public nuisance and it is for this reason that my Licensing General Section continue to enforce the legislation.

The 2003 Act has received Royal Assent but the relevant guidance and regulations still need to be approved by Parliament. It is expected that the guidance and regulations will be released in June / July this year. The Government has promised local authorities a six month period following the release of the guidance and regulations to draft and consult on its "Statement of Licensing Policy".

This would suggest that the first appointed day would be the 1st January 2005 followed by a transitional period of eight months to allow all current licences to be transferred to the new Licensing regime. This would suggest that the second appointed day and the commencement of the new legislation would be 1st September 2005.

It is worth noting that the Local Authority must continue to administer the existing legislation until the second appointed day. This means that all current licensees must continue to renew their licences until this date, pay the appropriate fee; and comply with relevant conditions or face prosecution.

Currently the licensees of many other premises across the city that wish to provide public entertainment continue to apply to my Licensing General Section for the grant of a licence. I must state that fees charged are to recover costs and external auditors to the Council have checked its level of fees in the past. The Council does not levy fees to supplement its funds. The Council recovers its costs so there is no additional burden on the ratepayers of the City.

I hope that the above answers all your questions and if you have any further queries in relation to any of the above then do not hesitate to contact my Chief Licensing Officer, Mr Lonnia, who is dealing with this matter.

Yours sincerely



Mark Webster
Director of Legal & Administrative Services

As you can see from above there is no movement at all in fact it seems like they are digging in their heels. The fight goes on.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 May 04 - 07:34 AM

The current legislation is likely to remain in place for at least another fifteen months and possibly longer. The Council has a statutory duty to continue to enforce the provisions of the legislation.

Why then have they failed to do this at the Palm Tree for 3 years and placed the public at risk during this time? But there is no way forward with a frontal assault on the officers - best to just ignore them.

The point is that the Council can enforce the provisions without preventing sessions. They do have to investigate but they do not have to conclude that a collection of unpaid members of the public making music for their own pleasure are (more than two) 'performers' in a public entertainment. There is is discretion available to the Council at this point. It is not just a blunt choice between obtaining a PEL or stopping the session.

I suggest that you should insist that the sessions continue until the issue is brought before the Council members as the local licensing authority, and they be asked to decide. They may accept that the session requires a PEL (or they not) but there are a number of options open to them. They may decide not to charge a fee, for example.

They could even allow all the current sessions to continue (as safely as they already have), until the Council has all the expert advice it requires and can make an informed and final desision. This would take many months and may not even be finally decided until the new Act has fully replaced this current law..............And there is now also the Human Rights legislation that your Council must take notice of, as they will be in breach of it.

What is the specific safety issue presented by a session, that cannot be dealt with via the justice's licence? They need to find one in order to legally prevent the public's freedom of expression.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 May 04 - 07:39 AM

Feel free anyone to contact MP's and councillors use the above if you want. The fight begins now !!!

No comment. *Smiles*


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 19 May 04 - 08:47 AM

That should have read 'our fight begins now' (sorry !!!!)


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: Les from Hull
Date: 19 May 04 - 09:28 AM

You could ask the Council if they have had complaints about public safety or noise at the Palm, and if so what they are. If they haven't had complaints why are they mentioning it? Councils should also consider whether they are getting complaints from the public or from other licensees and their friends.

On the subject of public entertainment I am prepared to state, on oath, that I have never been entertained by anything you've ever sung or played, Jim!


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 19 May 04 - 09:33 AM

Thanks for that underwhelming round of support Les. I'm going to couch my reply in very measured terms but basically it's going to say that the council officers are a just a bunch of w*nkers.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 19 May 04 - 09:51 AM

speaking as a w***** who works for a nearby council for an entirely different department, I wouldn't do that if I were you Mr MCFat. Council officers are people, some may be jobsworths but most are there to help. Just because you don't get a favourable response immediately, don't stop trying but keep it a clean campaign. If you upset people at this stage they won't root for you in the future.

Surely a better move would be to contact your local councillor and get him or her to bring it up at the relevant committee.

Cheers
Sarah


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 19 May 04 - 10:02 AM

I was of course para phrasing Sarah. I too have been a council officer in a former life in fact for over 25 years and I know what a diligent and hard working bunch they can be. However enforcement officers (either Legal or Environmental Health) seem to be slightly reminiscent of the Waffen SS. I am prpared to give them a run for their money. Press and now radio have been informed. Wtach out they could come for you next !!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 19 May 04 - 10:47 AM

Hoping to get a tip off from a mate in a neighbouring dept. before that happens! As I say, I'm endeavouring to keep them onside!

Another approach could be to have a series of well-publicised fundraisers to help pay for the Palm Tree licence. Invite the local councillors and get to bang the drum about the crap legislation at the same time (make sure you hold the event somewhere that has an existing PEL though)!

Cheers
Sarah


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 19 May 04 - 11:00 AM

We've just had a fund raiser for't Festival don't know if I can be prevailed to squeeze more favours out of my folkie mates but you never know ?


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 19 May 04 - 11:32 AM

Have a whip round at the festival if the situation is still bleak in October! You could have a PEL fund for local session pubs to be used as and when needed.

Thinking out loud here.

Cheers
Sarah


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 May 04 - 02:06 PM

The point is that sessions do not NEED a PEL.

If sessions were public entertainment, they would not (usually) be prevented when visited by the officers.

If the licensee viewed it a public entertainment, they would and should be prepared to pay for the PEL.

They don't organise or generally make anything from holding it and understandably tend to stop the session rather than pay to enable it.

Even when the session has been prevented, the licensee has no way of stopping participants (who do not know) from still turning up.

That would not be a problem if these participants were 'performers', as all they need to do is contact them.

Participants are customers, They are not paid, they are under no obligation to turn-up and under no obligation to make any music, if they do. So the licensee has no idea if any music is going to happen in advance.

It up to the local authority to prove that these are (more than two) 'performers' in a public entertainment. Just because the legal depts advise that their officers are following the law, when they use this interpretaion - this does not mean that the law in fact does support this interpretation.

It has just never been challenged in the courts and they are pretty sure that it will never be. So they do whatever they wish and claim that the law we entrust them to enforce, supports this. They get comfort from the fact they can claim that other LAs do the same. They may well do this but it does not means that the law means they HAVE to.

It is clear from those who know what a session is - that at the very least it is a borderline case. It is up to us to try and convince your councillors. Not that their officers are wrong - but that there are others ways of dealing with the situation, that do not just mean that sessions have to be prevented.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: Les from Hull
Date: 19 May 04 - 02:23 PM

If they are bothered about advertising a session you could say that it's a similar situation to a pub advertising that it's got a dartboard or a pool table, the point being that session players are not paid to entertain, or even turn up.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 May 04 - 04:43 PM

Yes but I really don't see that advertising should be an issue. Word-of-mouth is still advertising and formal advertising alone will not turn the session into a public entertainment.

Advertising should just mean that it is likely that the local officers may become aware that some form of live music making is likely to happen. Or they cannot pretend not to see it (any longer). They could always come on a bad night (when there were only two participants or none at all). Could that be arranged for any return visit/visits to the Palm Tree session?

When they are aware they should investigate to establish IF the premises require futher licensing to ensure the public's safety. It does not mean that when they are aware, that they must find a licensable public entertainment, or if they do, that they must charge a fee.

Whatever a 'performer' may be, I suggest that a good starting point would be someone under obligation to, or in the temporary employ of the licensee, in order to entertain their customers. If anyome was just making some form of music, with the licensee's permission, I suggest that it would be difficult for any Council to prove in court that these customers were 'performers'. And using this definition for session participants, they would have to do this.

This from Hansard, may help.

>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: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 20 May 04 - 04:47 AM

It's the advertising that alerted them.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 May 04 - 05:48 AM

Has it been advertised for three years?

In the last two years in my borough, a jam session in a venue without a PEL, has been advertised every week and more, without any investigation or enforcement action. In this same period, two folk sessions that had never been advertised, have been prevented by the Council, for the lack of a PEL.

Quite how the officers square this, is yet to be established but it may be an idea to go on the atttack and publicise the issue of why the Council have failed (for 3 years at the Palm Tree) in their statutory duty to protect the public, rather simply defend a problem presented to sessions, that is seen to be ours alone. Not much to lose at this stage.

The level of incompetence that would lead these officers to overlook these events for so long and fail in what they have so earnestly claimed to be the Council's statutory duty is sufficient enough for them to be guilty of maladministration and a breach of Sch. 1, s. 12(1)(b)(i)', Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982'.

Maladministration defined as: The Council not following its own rules or the law.

You might also add that 3 years is a long time for officers of the council to be in breach of s.12(1)(b)(i) Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

This makes it a criminal offence for anyone [quite separate from those concerned in the organisation or management of entertainment] 'knowing or having reasonable cause to suspect that such an entertainment would be so provided at the place... allowed the place to be used for the provision of that entertainment..'.

This means your Council's officers. This (discreet) threat (of a possible formal complaint), may bring about a change of attitude and present the Council with a problem?


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 20 May 04 - 06:19 AM

It also might mean that they tighten up on ALL the sessions in the area so they don't get caught out again, leaving you guys with nowhere to play.

We may be needing people with BIG kitchens to help out.

Cheers
Sarah


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 May 04 - 06:37 AM

It also might mean that they tighten up on ALL the sessions in the area so they don't get caught out again, leaving you guys with nowhere to play.

As it appears that they are tightening up on all the local sessions now anyway - there is little to lose. What do you suggest then? Any 'whip round', I suggest would be better aimed toward a fighting fund to support a legal challenge, rather than simply to purchase PELs.

it is this 'I'm alright Jack' additude is what has left me (and a few others) struggling with this issue for 4 years. I have sympathy with the folk in Sheffield but the writing has been on the wall for these sessions a long time. The timid 'head in sand' approach clearly has not worked. It gives me no pleasure to say 'I told you so' but it really is too late for the idea that anything can now make the situation much worse.

I hope that you are not suggesting that employees of the Council entrusted to uphold the law, should not be subject themselves to that same law or are above it?


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 May 04 - 06:44 AM

We're alright Jack


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 20 May 04 - 07:32 AM

A fighting fund would be best - but you've first got to find a publican willing to stick his neck out! Would any of the breweries get involved?

It's not a case of 'alright Jack', I'm thinking out loud with some experience of how council officers think when presented with a legal challenge!

I'll ignore the insults. I have written to MPs etc to object to the legislation so don't assume I personally have done nothing.

In the meantime, good luck with the campaign.

cheers
Sarah


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 20 May 04 - 07:35 AM

I should just elaborate one point which I made above.

'It's not a case of 'alright Jack', I'm thinking out loud with some experience of how council officers think when presented with a legal challenge!'

This refers specifically to accusing the authority of not being even-handed on how it deals with sessions ie stopping some and ignoring others. ie they will endeavour to PEL ALL the sessions.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 20 May 04 - 07:37 AM

Some of the major pub groups ( most of the big breweries have disposed of the estates) objected when SKY hiked up the charges that pubs had to pay for live footie matches and I believe it resulted in some limited success. Don't know if Pubmaster (The Palm's owners) are any good at parting with dosh.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 May 04 - 09:36 AM

This refers specifically to accusing the authority of not being even-handed on how it deals with sessions ie stopping some and ignoring others. ie they will endeavour to PEL ALL the sessions.

I take the point but with what the officer has said above, that IS what is going to happen.

The current legislation is likely to remain in place for at least another fifteen months and possibly longer. The Council has a statutory duty to continue to enforce the provisions of the legislation.

Therefore, we must continue to deal with all premises on an equal basis and treat them in a fair and consistent manner, this would not be the case if we ignored other premises carrying out unlicensed activity or waited for new legislation to come in to force.


Whether these officers like being accused of not being even-handed, the evidence demonstrates that they have not been (for at least 3 years and before) and like everyone else, they will have to face the consequences of not following the law. Licensees and session participants do not like to be accused of being criminals very much either.

Officers are quick enough to quote the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, when they consider folk to be in breach of it. I don't much care if they like being accused under the same Act. They should not ignore the parts of it that suit them, and just enforce the bits that do. Or indeed, make it up as they go along.

It is this attitude that has made a poor piece of legislation, into a damaging joke, if not a very funny one. Common sense could and should have prevailed long ago. If these officers are finally affected themselves by the problem, instead of just watching others suffer, we may obtain common sense at last.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 20 May 04 - 09:59 AM

Unfortunately I know no musicians in Sheffield or beyond who work in a licensing dept.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 May 04 - 10:19 AM

Selected quotes from some of my council's officers will demonstrate the corner they have painted themselves in.

Ian Locke Director of Tourism and Corporate Services – in a letter to Ian Bruce MP 19 March 2001.
3. Where the provisions apply it is a requirement to have a licence and not something on which we have any discretion.

Mr M.C. Page, Solicitor – in the one letter from WPBC, (re my complaint) to the LGO 31 January 2002.
5 (a) (i) Public Entertainment Licensing is a very important function of the Local Authority. Any failure by the Council to enforce the legislation correctly, and to ensure that Licences are obtained where required, would be regarded as a serious breach of statutory duty and would justifiably leave the Council open to criticism.
(ii) The Council has to work within the law as it is, not as anyone else might wish it to be.

Melanie Earnshaw, Solicitor - in a letter to Councillor Booth 8 February 2001.
It is quite clear that such advertising is intended to attract additional custom to the premises. The Cove Inn, operating without a Public Entertainment Licence has enjoyed an unfair commercial advantage over Licensees of the other 65 premises within this Authority who pay an annual Licence fee and abide by the standard conditions attached to all Public Entertainment Licences designed to ensure public safety and to control noise nuisence.

The Council as Licensing Authority has a duty to enforce the law as it stands impartially. I can see no justification for failing to encourage the Licensee of the Cove In to apply for a Public Entertainment Licence and, should it become necessary to take enforcement action in the event that unlicensed performances take place on the premises.
   
Sue Allen, Licensing Manager – in a letter to me 22 March 2001.
1. I can confirm that, up to our first telephone conversation, I had assumed that the Licensee had placed the advertisement in the Dorset Echo rather than yourself.
3. It is our practice to regularly check publications such as the Dorset Echo for any advertisement pertaining to licensing issues.

ENDS

Why and how the Council will justify having openly permitted an advertised session every week (and more) for two years (whilst closing two non-advertised sessions) - is yet to be revealed. They will no doubt try to claim not to have noticed ..............Incompetence is thought to be OK as a excuse for our Council officers, they just blame the lack of staff and overwork.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 20 May 04 - 10:45 AM

How does all of this leave the fringe element of festivals - which are mainly sessions in pubs?

It would seem a bit odd for councils to support festivals through their economic development departments (as they do in Beverley) and then prosecute elements of the festival through another section of the council.

R


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 May 04 - 11:37 AM

How does all of this leave the fringe element of festivals - which are mainly sessions in pubs?

They fail in their statutory duty, which they will claim the law does not allow them to do. Or in the case of my Council organised folk festival, they only choose pubs with PELs for their festival sessions and close down long-running local sessions without PELs. They did this a month before this years event.

In other areas, they will try their very best to ignore them or maintain that they do not have enough staff or use some other excuse. As their have done since 1964 and 1984, all the time this legislation has been in place.

If they have largely ignored sessions for so long, it seems a little strange that with the short time this legislation has to run, that they simply cannot continue to do this, or better still address ways to enable them or to simply stall. It is clear that sessions are a different animal from conventional paid entertainment, and unlikely to be enabled by a licensee paying for the PEL.

To wake-up in Sheffield and take action against sessions (or make no distinction between conventional entertainment) at this point, knowing that this will just prevent long-running sessions and not sell any PELs, in my view, is just reckless and unforgivable.

Nothing personal Sarah. I am sure you and many of your fellows are fine folk. I have just heard all of this 'waffle' from licensing and legal officers too many times before. There needs to be demands from the public to ensure that our Council depts start to use some joined-up thinking.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: Amos
Date: 20 May 04 - 01:16 PM


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST
Date: 20 May 04 - 02:19 PM

For goodness sake - The Palm Session has broken the law. It is therefore lucky not to be being prosecuted - bravo Sheffield Council for upholding the law!! Why should it should a pub be exempt when others have to pay?

Stop whinning - pay your PEL and then get on with the music! Well that is if this MCFAT can play


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 21 May 04 - 04:35 AM

Just to let you all know I've had an e-mail from the leader of Sheffield Council Jan Wilson it reads as follows:-

I think we need to discuss this. Shall we meet so we can discuss what's happening?
Jan Wilson

so we may have some movement !!!!!


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 21 May 04 - 06:22 AM

That's good news.

It's local election time - all the councillors are getting the wind up so make the most of it. You could promise them some nasty headlines in the local press in advance of June 10.

Cheers
Sarah


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 21 May 04 - 06:24 AM

Interestingly the whole of Sheffield Council is up for re-elction due to ward changes. Will probably see if Mark Gibbons can attend the meetings as he was something to do with EFDSS's representations re the new law.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 21 May 04 - 06:46 AM

Good luck Jim


Our (East Riding)council has always been very supportive of music - remember that they actually gave us some money to run the PVFF a couple of years ago and that was all based in non-pel pubs. Hope I haven't spoken too soon - they may suddenly change, but there has been a marked difference in the way NE Lincs Council, for example, has treated sessions compared to the way East riding Council does.

Rog


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 May 04 - 08:05 AM

so we may have some movement !!!!!

This is good news, but it is just the start, and no matter how well-intentioned the elected members may be, they will be being advised by their officers that the Counil MUST prevent sessions in venues without PELs. Even if they think differently, The members will have to fight their officers. As at this point the problem is solved as far as the officers are concerned by claiming not to have done anything wrong (legally). The fact they have done very little right, and will continue to prevent sessions, for no good reason, is not as important to them as 'holding the line'.

The officers see and will convey the impression to the members, that sessions are simply a means to get around the current system and pay for a PEL. A way has to be found to show the members that sessions are a borderline case, (i.e. possibly not public entertainment at all, like a quiz or darts) that are threatened by a system that was not designed for ativities where the public provide their own music, in perfectly safe and inspected premises (i.e pubs). S 182, the so-called 'two-in-a-bar-rule' only applies in pubs or where a justice's licence is in place, and this exemption just recognises that small-scale music making, is safe without and does not require any additional licensing.

There can be no return now for the Council, to the 'blind eye' and this is not really of any use anyway. Perhaps you could get your members to officially obtain some outside, EXPERT legal advice to address the whole problem and enable them to find a way where your current sessions (and the Sheffield carols) can continue and the officers are also seen to be undertaking their statutory duty under this current legislation?

And also request that until that advice is received and the Council members can meet to find a solution, that the sessions can continue, as safely as the Palm Tree session has done, without any additional licensing for 3 years. It is important to try and ensure that the current sessions are enabled until this is done, as otherwise the process (and prevented sessions) will just drag on until the current legislation dies.

My council met in February 2004 and decided to ask the DCMS. The letter was sent in March and we still await a reply. In the meantime the officers have prevented another session and there is little chance that any reply will change to officers line anyway. You must remember that the officers know how to work this system and will use all of the tricks to obstruct your attempts for a common sense solution.

I hope that I am wrong in this and that your officers prove to be a different breed to all the others, but good luck anyway. PM me if you need any further info or contacts.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 21 May 04 - 08:26 AM

Thanks for the advice. I know what you mean about the Council backing it's officers and we have to take that into account but if we can resolve something then perhaps it could be used as a test. We'll see.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 24 May 04 - 04:56 AM

I am arranging an apointment this week


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 May 04 - 05:25 AM

That is good.

However the bad thing about local election time, is that committee business tends to stop until the new batch of councillors are elected to fill them.

Your meeting will be very useful, if you can at least obtain agreement that the 'status quo' that has existed for the last 3 years, can continue until the relevant committee can be formed and meet, to establish a long-term solution to the problem presented by the officers, to sessions under the life of this current legislation.

If you can do that, given the slow rate that councils tend to move, Sheffield's sessions should be safe (until the new Act). If you can't, there will be nothing stopping the officers from preventing them all - for the same period. For by the time the elected members are back, I fear that it will then be too late.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 24 May 04 - 05:40 AM

Meeting is at 9.30am to-morrow I'm taking Mark Gibbons in his guise as Chair of South Riding Folk Network (and the EFDSS) we're meting at Fagans tonight to discuss 'tactics'


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 24 May 04 - 09:48 AM

Meeting now delayed until Thursday 12.30.


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Subject: RE: Update on Palm Sesh
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 May 04 - 10:02 AM

For the latest news - see

Stop Press Palm sesh update


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