Creating a good trading environment
One thing we at Complete Licensing pride ourselves on is giving the best service available to anyone involved in licensing. To that end, we’ve gathered together an advisory team which can rival any in the hospitality sector.
Leading law practitioners, former police officers specialising in licensing, acoustics experts…we make use of the most experienced people in their field of expertise – which means our clients can be confident in our services.
A recent addition to our line-up is former Environmental Health Officer Dave Nevitt. Like so many of our experts, Dave spent much of his working life in Central London. In his 40 years’ experience he has worked in nine London boroughs with most of his time served at Westminster. Dave has spent many years at the forefront of enforcement activity across the range of EH functions and has given evidence at the Magistrate’s Court on more occasions than he can remember. For the last 15 years – until his retirement in April – he was a key member of Westminster City Council’s Consultation Team performing the ‘Responsible Authority’ function under the Licensing Act 2003 and implementing the City Council’s Licensing Policy.
The phrase ‘seen it all’ is overused, but in truth, there isn’t much Dave hasn’t seen or had to deal with. “Environmental health covers everything from housing, pollution, Health and Safety, Food Hygiene, noise nuisance and, of course, so many aspects of licensing,” says Dave. “Westminster has the highest number of licensed premises of any authority in Britain and covers everything from the smallest high street café to Major Impact Events such as Notting Hill Carnival, with its two million visitors.”
Dave has worked for many years on Major Impact Events such as Hyde Park concerts, Royal celebrations, Trafalgar Square events, Chinese New Year festivities and London Pride. Large, high-profile events such as these are complex and challenging for the regulatory authorities and call for experienced and knowledgeable Officers to ensure that Public Nuisance and Public Safety issues are properly addressed. Dave has served on many Safety Advisory Groups, working with event organisers and with other agencies such as the Fire Brigade, Police, London Ambulance Service, and various Council departments.
Whether it’s The Ritz, a celebrity chef’s restaurant, fast food premises or local pub, the Licensing Act requires that the Licensing Objectives are promoted. Matters such as noise from live or amplified music, the operation of plant and equipment, customer activity, deliveries and waste collection can all potentially impact on local residents and cause Public Nuisance, especially late at night or in the early hours. They can generate complaints and sometimes lead to a Review of a Premises Licence. Public Safety would include making sure that premises operate to a safe capacity, that fire escapes are adequate and that fire safety equipment is provided. The layout, design and arrangement of the premises must be safe and free of hazards, and there must be sufficient toilets provided for staff and customers. Adequate Risk Assessments and procedures must be in place to ensure that activities conducted at the premises are in the best interests of Public Safety. The ability to carry out a correct assessment of a premises is essential whether it be for a New Licence, a Variation or following an application for a Review. Dave has many years of experience in this area, especially when an operator is drawing up plans for a new business or new premises layout.
In addition to his enforcement role as an EHO Dave also spent many years providing Pre-Application Advice based on a scheme set up at Westminster City Council where businesses who are considering submitting a Licensing application can pay to receive written advice on Public Safety, Public Nuisance and Licensing Policy. Operators and Licensing Solicitors say that Dave’s wise and practical advice has been invaluable to them and over the years Dave has built up excellent working relationships with both business operators and Solicitor’s firms. The advice provided has covered matters of compliance and has explored the practicalities of what it means to actually run a business. An important skill that Dave brings is the ability to establish a good rapport with customers, the ability to investigate and solve problems, the ability to think ahead and anticipate what issues may arise and the knowledge to know what mitigation measures could be used to head off problems in the future and ensure that the Licensing Objectives are promoted.
Dave has also spent countless hours in licensing sub-committees, offering his expert advice to those who make the crucial decisions on licensing matters. “The local Councillors who serve as Committee Members want to be well-informed. They want their residents protected but are also keen to help businesses get it right. They need the best and most accurate information to make licensing decisions. I’ve often been asked for advice by licensing solicitors before hearings. My role in the busiest licensing Authority in the UK – regarded by many as the premier licensing authority – has allowed me to build a good reputation.