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South Norfolk
  MP warns over licensing threat to village halls


SOUTH NORFOLK MP Richard Bacon has written to the minister for creative industries and tourism, James Purnell, to protest that the new Licensing Act is confusing, restrictive and risks closing down many of Norfolk’s village halls.

Mr Bacon said: “I have been contacted by several village hall committees utterly in despair over incomprehensible forms and baffling new rules. The Government’s understandable desire to curb

Under the new Licensing act, village halls will only be able to hold 12 events at which alcohol may be served
Under new licensing laws village halls will only be able to host 12 events per year where alcohol may be served
drink-fuelled violence in towns and cities may have disastrous consequences for our rural communities”.

The Act allows village halls to hold just 12 events each year where alcohol can be served. Should they wish to hold any more than this, they must pay the full licensing fee in the same way as a pub and appoint a designated premises supervisor with an accredited licensing qualification. Many village halls, terrified by the cost and complexity of the forms, have decided to rely on these 12 temporary event notices, inadequate as they are.

Mr Bacon added: “Village halls are caught between either applying for a premises licence, with massive costs and bureaucracy far too burdensome for volunteers to take on, or instead restricting their activities to 12 events per year and facing a critical loss in vital revenue. Village halls are hardly a hotbed of anti-social behaviour and I have urged the Government to rethink these measures before irreparable damage is done”.

See also:
SPEECHES: The Whisky Strip Stamp tax

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