Pandoras lap dance club obtained planning permission from South Bucks council in 2011, but the licensing committee then refused an SEV license. The appeal was based on the idea that the planning officer had said the locality was suitable: the licensing committee deferred from this view. Whilst this perhaps suggests no-one has quite thought through the relationship of planning and licensing systems as they pertain to sexual entertainment, the result of the review upheld the licensing committee’s view and suggested that the width of discretion which licensing committees can use is wide indeed.
The defending barristers drew the following conclusions:
1. The breadth of the discretion in applications for SEV licences is confirmed. It is intended to be wide;
2. Although it is important to give reasons for a decision to refuse, those reasons need only be sufficient to enable the losing party to know why he has lost;
3. Where the extent of reasons given is criticised it is permissible to produce ‘amplified reasons’ – in this case a reconvened sub-committee (the same 3 members) produced a fuller note of their reasons, which was accepted;
4. The assessment of ‘character’ for the purposes of the planning regime is distinct from the assessment of ‘the character of the locality’ for the purposes of the SEL regime, and can lawfully produce different outcomes. One need not follow the other.