Noise complaints over Biggleswade venue mean town council wants to be more involved in licensing decisions

Biggleswade HIgh Street. Picture: Tony MargiocchiBiggleswade HIgh Street. Picture: Tony Margiocchi
Biggleswade HIgh Street. Picture: Tony Margiocchi
The venue has applied for an alcohol and music licence until 3.30am

Complaints about loud music and disturbances arising from a town centre venue in Biggleswade are prompting a local authority to pay closer attention to local licensing applications.

Although not a statutory licensing authority, Biggleswade Town Council is set to ask its officers to bring details of future licence requests to its attention.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Issues were raised by town councillor Dan Albone about the entertainment at George’s Hall, where a temporary licence was granted for three weekends.

“There was loud music and some disturbances in the town, while the music according to local residents continued until about 4am,” he told a town council meeting.

“The temporary licence covers three weekends, but an application for a permanent licence has been submitted,” he said. “It’s asking for an alcohol and music licence seven days a week, from 11am to 3.30am the next day.

“I wanted to bring this to a relevant council or committee meeting. Comments need to be made by May 3. We need to decide how we can deal with licence applications, which affect Biggleswade.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We’re not a consultee in this process. We could come up with a mechanism to consider this documentation, if necessary.”

Central Bedfordshire Council is the local licensing authority, which has a licensing committee and sub-committee to hear relevant submissions.

Town councillor Jonathan Woodhead referred to hearing similar complaints, saying: “I’d be happy to have a broader discussion about this on the town centre management committee.

“We can work out a policy wording offline. Thank you for raising this. It’s pretty shoddy we’re not consulted on licensing issues.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mayor Mark Foster suggested: “We need to have some system and think how we can respond formally with this application, given our next meeting is on May 9.

“Let’s see if we can come up with some formal mechanism to deal with licensing applications. CBC ward councillors have some involvement, but they’re not a formal consultee either.

“It’s perfectly sensible this is included on the town centre management committee agenda.”

A report to tonight’s (Tuesday, April 16) meeting of the committee explained: “The town council isn’t a standard consultee for these applications, which could create an issue where councillors are unaware of a licensing (or variation) application in progress.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The George’s Hall licensing application notice also seeks to provide late night refreshments and dance performances from 11am until 3.30am.

“While this may boost the establishment’s business, which is positive, officers consider it would potentially increase the risk of crime and anti-social behaviour because of the late nights seven days a week.

“It would cause significant disruption to neighbours in an area which is relatively tranquil. On the wider process, the town council should be routinely included in all licensing applications in future as a valued partner for consultation.

“Once members have considered the application, officers will send the resolution to CBC ward councillors and the appropriate CBC officer team for inclusion in the wider assessment.”

Councillors are recommended to agree that any future licensing applications are examined, following the process outlines.