Coming to Durham Town Hall ..

Come along to this free training event next Monday 30th September from 6pm.

I’ll be sharing a stage with the local Police and with an assistant to the local MP Roberta Blackman-Woods, and I’ll be leading a training course for local residents and businesses showing how you can respond to new licensing applications and, particularly, how to take effective action when licensed premises are causing trouble in your neighbourhood.

Read more about the event here. Book your free place here.


Review of the Handbook from a Parish Council clerk

Very pleased once more to receive this comment about my book, this time from the clerk to a newly formed Parish Council: 

cover v6 with SJB logo JPEG
Click the image to see the book on Amazon

“I just wanted to make the observation that your book is very insightful and interesting. Very useful as a resource for a newly formed Parish Council Licensing Committee.”

If you are involved with a Parish Council, I do hope that you find the book as helpful when representing the interests of your community.

“The licensing objectives have been compromised” – a very good use of language in licence review applications

imageHere is a recent story from the Chesterfield area about the Police making an application to review the licence operating at a nightclub called Groove. The story is useful for two reasons:

  1. It’s an example of the Police deciding to take action themselves because people were reporting problems to them: “We took the decision to review the conditions of the licence at Groove bar due to a number of reports and concerns expressed about crime and disorder at and around the premises”. Moral of the story: each person who is affected by trouble from licensed premises should assiduously report every incident of crime and disorder and nuisance to the Police – there may come a point when the Police feel compelled to act on their own initiative and that may make things much easier for the residents concerned.
  2. In connection with their application, the Police use the phrase “In our opinion two licensing objectives have been compromised, these being the prevention of serious crime and disorder and public safety.” In my view this is an excellent and appropriate use of language which you may wish to deploy in your licence review application. The wording conveys two important thoughts: (a) adhering to the licensing objectives is very much the licence-holder’s responsibility, which is something it can be easy to lose sight of; (b) there is evidence that the licence-holder is failing in that responsibility.

New review of the Handbook

I was so pleased yesterday evening to receive the following review of the Licence Review Handbook from a representative of a residents’ group in Durham:

“This Licensing Review Handbook is a hugely helpful and useful text for anyone. It is clearly laid out in a logical order to guide the reader through the process of dealing with a licensing matter from start to finish. The layout makes it simple to locate any particular section and it is written in plain language making it easy to follow and understand. There are lots of useful links to cross reference to and a website for updates as they occur, all very well thought out. I particularly like the fact that this book is so clear, so concise, has many useful tips and guidance and up to date links. It completely demystifies the process of licensing and is a very welcome help for anyone who has a concern over a licensing application or a premises already licensed. This book makes life much easier for us (a Residents Group) as we struggle to safeguard quality of life against the power of the large organisation wishing to extend licensing hours and add new premises. Highly recommended.” (Ms J.G., St Nicholas’ Community Forum)

My main aim when I wrote the Licence Review Handbook was  to make the licence review procedure accessible, to ‘translate’ it, if you like, from dry and fusty  legalese into ordinary language. be happyWhat makes me particularly happy about this review is that it shows me I am achieving that aim. Thank you!

If you are having trouble from licensed premises near you, don’t feel that you have to put up with it. Find out about the  licensing objectives set out by the Licensing Act 2003 and ask your local council to review the way that the premises licence is being operated. It is easier than you think, once you know how. It’s an informal procedure, nothing like a court hearing, and you don’t need a lawyer.

Take a look at the first few pages of the Licence Review Handbook here.

What people say about the Licence Review Handbook

I am so pleased to be able to publish two reviews of advance copies of the Licence Review Handbook:

This is a manual for residents and objectors and if your organisation has been involved in the past, you will appreciate that residents are somewhat at a disadvantage when faced with the professionals and their clients. This book will even up the playing field. Does what it says on the tin.” (Secretary, National Organisation of Residents’ Associations,, January 2019)

Really helpful – sets out what to do, how to do it and how to maximise your chances of success. I wish we’d had your book a few years ago when we were fighting to close three local nightclubs – it would have been very helpful!” (Mr DL, from a residents’ association in Essex, January 2019)

Very glad that the Handbook is turning out to be exactly what I intended: a practical hands-on guide.

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see the book at here

visit here


Chapter updates complete!

This is the way to go. Chapter updates all complete. Time for a large coffee!


It should now be pretty straightforward for you to find links to the online source material that you come across when you are reading the Licence Review Handbook. If you have any trouble, or if you find a link that isn’t working as it should, just contact me here and I’ll put things right just as soon as I can.

Don’t let badly run licensed premises spoil your life. Take a look at the first few pages of the Licence Review Handbook on the Amazon site here, and see how you can ask the local council to hold a formal licence review into how the premises are being run. Find out how to focus on the licensing objectives under the Licensing Act 2003. Learn how to take effective action against a premises licence that is causing trouble for you or your neighbourhood.


See the Licence Review Handbook homepage here

See the Handbook’s Amazon page here


Phew! Chapter updates are now complete up to Chapter 14

Chapter 5 to 14 now have their chapter updates published. That’s a whole lot from how to gather evidence, a look at licensing laws and legal principles that help you, how to complete the application form, the representation period, the licence review hearing itself, the decision of the sub-committee, how to appeal, and then a general consideration of the first two licensing objectives which are crime and disorder and public nuisance.

I’m keeping on with it. The final two chapters should have their updates complete by the end of the weekend.

Updates to the first four chapters are complete

Chapter s1 to 4: that’s including what a premises licence is, why you’d want to have one reviewed, how to get your neighbourhood organised and guidance on recording and storing data such as CCTV footage.

Click here for the updates page.

After a long day in court as well, I’m calling it quits for today. More chapter updates coming tomorrow!