I have withdrawn from a licensing hearing in case my views on late night licences might be considered “biased”.
I was due to take part in a decision over Club Brazilia’s application to close at 4.30am on Thursdays to Saturdays. However, following guidance from the Standards Board I have reluctantly decided to pull out of the panel of three councillors hearing this application.
I am well known for questioning late drinking hours and have particularly spoken up about establishments competing with each other for later and later closing times. I have done so because many of my residents have to put up with the noise and anti-social behaviour of some when leaving these establishments, and they rightly expect me to do something about it.
According to the Standards Board, councillors who have definite views about issues they are making decisions about must be open to alternative arguments, or they may be perceived to be biased.
I do not believe ever-later closing times beyond 3am can be good for the town’s residents, and however open-minded I am I cannot imagine being persuaded that they are. It would be foolish to compromise myself or the panel’s decision by pretending otherwise, and if that means I’m thought biased then so be it.
It is a sad state of affairs when an elected representative is not allowed to make decisions which represent the views of his electorate, but this will certainly not stop me from supporting those views wherever I can.
Club Brazilia’s application will be heard on 13th May at 4pm. The Standards Board is now known as Standards for England. Specific guidance on bias can be found at: