Tory Chair of Licensing fails to change policy as Tories break rank and support Lib Dems

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Lib Dem Councillor Chrissie Hitchcock:

“Often it’s about perception. Before Cllr Doyle became a councillor, he represented Essence Nightclub and we all know what happened there - it resulted in the worst brawl the police have ever seen and we had to close the Club. If we have a controversial application in the Town Centre, I question whether he would be leaving himself open to criticism all round.”

The Chair of Licensing, Conservative Councillor Phillip Doyle, has found himself at odds with his own Licensing Committee after failing to convince the committee to allow Ward Members to sit on their own licensing hearings.
Under previous Lib Dem policy, Ward councillors did not sit on Licensing hearings in their own Wards because strict government guidance regarding impartiality advises councillors that this is not good practice.

Councillor Chrissie Hitchcock, ex Lib Dem Chair of the Licensing Committee explained:

“Councillor Doyle wanted to throw out our Lib Dem policy that protects councillors but he didn’t get his own way and thankfully Lib Dems and Tories voted together to oppose him. It is best that councillors who live outside the ward area sit on the Licensing hearing. Quite often an application will be controversial with local residents and businesses taking an opposing view to the applicant. When you think about it, a Ward councillor is most likely to be put under pressure and might not be impartial.”

Councillor Doyle runs his own Licensing Consultancy, PDL Consultants Ltd which represents applicants at Licensing hearings in other boroughs

Councillor Chrissie Hitchcock added

“Often it’s about perception. Before Cllr Doyle became a councillor, he represented Essence Nightclub and we all know what happened there - it resulted in the worst brawl the police have ever seen and we had to close the Club. If we have a controversial application in the Town Centre, I question whether he would be leaving himself open to criticism all round.”

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