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Ward councillors to get licensing input
7:00pm Saturday 26th May 2012 in News
NEW plans could see councillors able to help decide on applications for pubs, clubs and takeaways in their own wards.
Until now, Oxford city councillors were blocked from sitting on sub-committees to decide on licensing applications in their own area.
But the council is set to scrap this blanket disqualification at a meeting on Monday.
It means ward councillors could now advise their colleagues on licence disputes on their own doorsteps.
In a recommendation to the council, legal adviser Daniel Smith said: “Being a ward member does not in itself constitute an interest in an application or create a risk of apparent bias.
“A ward member’s local knowledge may in fact give an additional insight to an application and its implications.”
The city council has applied the restriction since it took over licensing powers in 2004. It has been applied as a matter of convention, rather than as a legal rule.
General purposes licensing committee vice chairman Colin Cook said: “This is a good move. The ban was something which has always been taken as accepted wisdom.
“Clearly members will need to be careful if they express an opinion about an application, but local knowledge will be a great help.”