“Englishcombe Inn” applies for extended license to sell alcohol

The Englishcombe Inn on Englishcombe Lane has applied for an extention to its licence to sell alcohol under the Licensing Act 2003. Local residents have until the 1 November 2007 to write in with their comments. The Council must consider each representation on its own merits and would have to take into account the substance of the comment / objection when determining whether the resident was close enough to the premises to be affected.

Our reference: 07/03049/LAPRE
Premises:Englishcombe Inn, 157 Englishcombe Lane, BathBA2 2EL

Variation: To extend the sale of alcohol

Monday-Thursday 10:00 hrs to 00:00 hrs,
Friday -Saturday 10:00 hrs to 00:30 hrs,
Sunday 10:00 hrs to 00:00 hrs
All Bank Holidays, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day 10:00 hrs to 02:00 hrs

To Permit regulated entertainment comprising Live music and voice (acustic and amplified). Recorded music including Juke Box and Karaoke with or without DJs. Compere for functions and quizzes etc. Pub games in front of audience and Video entermainment.

Last date for representations:1 November 2007 (28 days from date received)


Sale of Alcohol Sunday to Thursday 10:00 – 00:00
Sale of Alcohol Friday and Saturday 10:00 – 00:30
Indoor Sporting Event Every Day 19:00 – 23:30
Performance of Live Music Every Day 20:00 – 23:30
Performance of Recorded Music Sunday to Thursday 10:00 – 00:00
Performance of Recorded Music Friday and Saturday 10:00 – 00:30
For further information please contact:

Burniece Brown
Team Administrator
Licensing Services
9-10 Bath Street
Bath BA1 1SN
Telephone: (01225) 477531
Email: licensing@bathnes.gov.uk

Community to be at heart of new planning policies

Work to put together a new generation of planning policies which will set out the broad locations for new housing, jobs and community facilities hasbeen launched by the Council.

The new Council’s (conservative) Cabinet met in early September to consider the launch of the Core Strategy which will lead to a planning “blueprint” for development and regeneration across the district.

Local residents are invited to have their say on the plan from 25 September (until 17 December). This will give residents the earliest opportunity in helping to identify issues around the use of land.

The Core Strategy is the first of a new generation of planning policy documents. It will become the key document used by the Council to underpin decisions on a wide range of planning issues- from planning applications, to negotiations around regeneration and the location of new housing. The Strategy will come into force from 2010 to 2026.

Before the Council decides on specific proposals for the use of land, it wants to set out the best ways of working with the public to identify their views on the future use of land in urban and rural areas.

The Core Strategy will be a key document in articulating and delivering some elements of other strategies, in particular the Sustainable Community Strategy and emerging Council ‘Visions’.

The Council has identified a number of key issues that will be facing the district over the next 20 years, it would like to hear further suggestions about what matters to local communities and their views on the issues that the Council has identified. The Council will involve residents from the earliest opportunity so that they can have a direct input on planning issues of the future.
This Strategy is required of all local authorities by the Government, the Council must work within national Government guidelines and regional policies set out by the South West Regional Assembly. The guidelines cover a range of issues required by economic growth, including provision of new housing, locations of retail businesses, and environmental issues. The Council is required to meet specific targets around these issues.

It is important to remember that the Council does not have a blank canvas when it comes to planning for the future of our area- there are national and regional planning policies and standards which must followed. However it is in the Core Strategy that local decisions will be made which will have a direct impact on the future use of land in urban and rural areas.’

Cllr Sandry and Cllr McGall hope that the public consultation will spark-off discussions about the future of the area and espeically Oldfield Park. The Core Strategy will have an impact on everyday life for people who live and work in the district.

Take a look at our Core Strategy launch document and other publicity material www.bathnes.gov.uk/corestrategy

Make Landlords of HMOs pay Council Tax or Business Rates

Cllr Shaun McGall recently signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to “Make Landlords of HMOs pay Council Tax or Business Rates.”

The Prime Minister’s Office has responded to that petition and they stated:-

“All property is assessed for taxation on the basis of its primary usage. Where it is used as a person’s permanent residential accommodation it is classed as domestic and subject to the council tax. All other property, apart from certain exempt classes like agricultural premises, is treated as non-domestic and is subject to business rates.
Houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) are treated as domestic property and are subject to council tax. However, it is the owners of HMOs, not the residents, who are liable for council tax. The Government has no plans to make owners of HMOs liable for business rates. To do so would mean treating them differently from other domestic property.
Properties occupied solely by students, regardless of whether it is a HMO or not, are exempt from council tax. This exemption is designed to benefit students, not landlords, because, in general, students are not normally entitled to income related benefits such as housing and council tax benefit.
The distribution of formula grant to local authorities in England takes account of the circumstances of each authority’s area and its relative ability to pay council tax, expressed in terms of the council tax base. The calculation of a council’s tax base does take account of exempt student properties. Other things being equal, the smaller the council tax base of a council’s area, the larger its formula grant. This effect is modified, however, by the application of grant “floors”; that is, a guaranteed minimum percentage increase in grant each year on a like-for-like basis.”

To see the actual petition click here.
Cllr McGall is obviously disappointed with this response from the Labour Government. Communties like Oldfield Park in University towns and cities across the country are being affected by the growth in numbers of HMOs and the associated issues of: bad landlords, unkept gardens and properties, late night noise, increased pressure on parking, poor refuse and recycling management by some tentants and changes in the business and retail mix to cater for this section of society.

The issue isn’t about students but the over concertration of HMOs with a small geographical area. The national planning law on Use Class Orders must be changed to allow local councils to reflect local concerns and set limits on the number of HMOs in a particular street, or geographical area.

Central and local government most act to promote sustainable, balanced communities in which long term residents and tentants in HMOs can live together without street upon street turned over to the buy-to-let market.

Update on HMOs and Use Class Orders

Of course, the year has been dominated by the HMO Consultation. A report on the Consultation should have been published within three months of its ending in August, but it has still not appeared.

Apparently, the response was three times greater than expected – some 900 responses! Hopefully, the majority of these were from local residents, cllrs and MPs – but landlords and students were also campaigning against potential changes in the law. The volume of responses has caused the delay (the government has only one part-time officer dealing with them – Cllr McGall has spoken to her and she hopes to publish by the end of the year).

Meanwhile, we also have a new Minister for Housing & Planning, John Healey MP, who claims he is not well enough briefed as yet to make any decisions. Below is his reply to a question in the Commons, on 8 December 2009: –

Greg Mulholland (Leeds, North-West) (Lib Dem): Landlord licensing is one solution, but the use classes order is far more significant in many areas with concentrations of HMOs. Will the Minister give me an update on the progress of the Government’s examination of that? Does he agree that restrictions on the number of HMOs in such areas will increase the balance of the community and be in the interests of all?

John Healey: Indeed, and that is why our general policy is to promote mixed communities, as they tend to be better balanced and more stable. The hon. Gentleman asked for an update on our examination of whether changes to the use classes might help us pursue our objectives. At present, we are sifting the 900 or so responses that we have received to the consultation, and I hope to be able to update the House on this shortly.

See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm091208/debtext/91208-0002.htm#09120872000021

Several MPs, including our Don Foster, are lobbying the Minister to take action. The danger is that an early election will sabotage all the progress we have made. If you haven’t already done so, it would be invaluable if you could lobby Don Foster MP, and ask him to put what pressure he can on the Minister to move things along.

Meanwhile, in the hope of a positive outcome in due course…