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Community Councils

Liquor licensing and community councils

The licensing act provisions for the licensing board and community councils.

The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, contains provisions about notification of applications by the Licensing Board and objections.

The 2005 Act ensures that:

  • Licensing Boards are required to notify the community council for that area, of any new premises licence application or application to substantially vary how a premises operates
  • Community councils are able to object or offer representations to an application and request Licensing Boards hold a Hearing to review a licence if it is operating outwith the premises licensing conditions or the licensing objectives
  • Local authorities employ a Licensing Standards Officer whose duties include mediating with licensed premises to try and solve problems including those raised by community councils

Full details on the East Renfrewshire Licensing Board and the dates of the next meeting are at: Licensing Board

Understanding the Licensing Process


Any person wishing to sell alcohol within East Renfrewshire, either by way of permanent licence or an occasional licence must apply to East Renfrewshire Licensing Board.  Under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 all community councils are a statutory consultee, which means all community councils will be notified when a licence application is lodged within their locality.

The purpose of this guidance note is to help community councils understand the licensing process and explain how they can voice their opinion. 

East Renfrewshire Licensing Board

East Renfrewshire Licensing Board is constituted in terms of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and deals with all licenses relating to the sale of alcohol.  The Licensing Board also deal with gambling licenses in terms of the Gambling Act 2005.  The Board sit frequently and information relating to the Board can be found at click here

The Licensing Process

When an application is received by the Licensing Board, the Board is required to notify the community council for the locality the applicant is applying for. A community council will be notified of any Premises Licence Applications, including Provisional Applications and any application which seeks to vary an existing premises licence in a substantial manner, such as extending opening hours or increasing the alcohol sale area, commonly known as a Major Variation Application.

To inform the General Public of the application the Licensing Board will advertise the application on its website.  The applicant will also be required to display a site notice for a period of 21 days. 

It should be noted that anyone can make a representation or object to an application so long as they submit it in writing within the 21 day notice period.  Please be aware that the Board is not obliged to hear an objection or representation that is received outwith the stated period.

All objections and representations will be considered by the Board if they relate to a relevant ground.  It should be noted that the Board will not consider an objection or representation that it considers to be frivolous or vexatious.

Making and Objection or Representation 

There is no prescribed format for objections or representations. 

Community councils can make the following representations:

  • In support of the application
  • In respect of modification which the community council considers should be made to the operating plan accompanying the application
  • As to the conditions which the person considers should be imposed

Community councils can also make competent objections. When considering an objection the Community Council should consider the 5 Licensing Objectives:

  • Preventing Crime and disorder
  • Securing Public Safety
  • Preventing Public Nuisance
  • Protecting and Improving Public Health
  • Protecting Children From Harm

 For an objection to be deemed competent it must be based on the following grounds:

  • That the subject premises are excluded premises (eg Motorway Service Stations)
  • An application for the premises has been made for the same premises which were previously refused within a year. (Unless S25 direction has been made)
  • That granting the application is inconsistent with one or more of the licensing objectives
  • That the grant of the application would result in over-provision
  • That the location, character and condition of the premises, the persons likely to frequent the premises, the activities on the premises are unsuitable for sale of alcohol

The objection or representation should be signed and a copy will be served to the applicant. 

Please note that any comments made cannot be treated as confidential. 

Petitions of either support or objection can be submitted and will be considered by the Licensing Board, so long as each page of the petition is headed with the aim of the petition and that the names and addresses of those signing are readable.  The comments should be relevant in Licensing terms and clearly stated.

The name and address of the petition co-ordinator should be included for acknowledgment and notification of decision, the decision will not be notified to every individual on the petition. 

Attending the Licensing Board

If the community council decides to lodge a representation or objection within the stated time frame the community council can send a representative to the Licensing Board to speak to the representation or objection.  It should be noted that the representative can only talk to the content of the written representation or objection and cannot introduce any new information when addressing the Board.

Occasional Licenses

An occasional licence authorises the sale of alcohol in any premises where a licence is granted. The maximum period for an Occasional Licence is 14 days.

Community councils will not be notified of Occasional Licence applications within their locality. 
The Licensing Board is required to advertise an Occasional Licence for a period of 7 days on their website. 

A community council can make a representation or objection to an Occasional Licence within the period of the 7 days it is advertised on the website.

The objection or representation process is the same as above. 

Licensing Standards Officer

East Renfrewshire Council employs a Licensing Standards Officer whose duties include providing advice and information to interested parties regarding the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Boards Licensing Policy.

The Licensing Standards Officer also offers a mediation service that can be used to resolve disputes between Licensed Premises and the local Community. The services of the Licensing Standards Officer can be used by community council's. 

The contact details for East Renfrewshire Licensing Standards Officer are:

Dominic McMahon
Environment Department
Prevention Services
Thornliebank Depot, Carnwadric Road
G46 8HR
Telephone: 0141 577 3751

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