PEOPLE living in St Ives town centre are set to become the first in Huntingdonshire to launch a legal appeal against a licensing decision. Although there has been a previous appeal by an applicant – also in St Ives – this will be the first time objectors
PEOPLE living in St Ives town centre are set to become the first in Huntingdonshire to launch a legal appeal against a licensing decision.
Although there has been a previous appeal by an applicant - also in St Ives - this will be the first time objectors have asked magistrates to overturn a decision by Huntingdonshire District Council.
What has angered residents in St Ives is a decision last month to allow a fast-food outlet - the former fish-and-chip shop in The Broadway - to continue to serve take-away customers until 3am.
Jonathan Knight, who lives close by in The Waits, told The Hunts Post the decision will "inevitably exacerbate the current problems that residents and businesses face from anti-social behaviour in the early hours of the morning".
He complained that the licensing panel had approved the application at a meeting arranged at short notice in the middle of the holiday season.
District council cabinet member Councillor Doug Dew, who is raising the matter after complaints from several town centre residents, said he believed there had been no comment from the police - one of the principal statutory consultees.
"The residents believe the police have let them down badly, because they didn't comment," he said. "In the past they have objected to an expansion of the night-time economy in St Ives. In this case, the police silence has been taken as agreement.
"The residents are absolutely mortified."
Responsibility for licensing, including for premises selling hot food after 11pm, was transferred from the Bench to the council by the Licensing Act 2003, with the magistracy as the appeal body.
Cllr Dew said he believed at least three appeals were set to be lodged with Huntingdon Magistrates' Court [though they would be heard simultaneously].
HDC's licensing manager Greg Peck confirmed that, in the absence of objections from statutory consultees, councillors would normally expect to approve a licence application.
The only grounds for objection under the Act - and therefore the only grounds for appeal - relate to the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, prevention of public nuisance, and protection of children.
The St Ives objectors are likely to cite crime and nuisance as their grounds for asking the magistrates to overturn the decision.