Thumbs up for new events laws

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Venues have welcomed a Government blitz on ‘red tape’ which will allow more entertainment events to be run without a licence.

Community centres, schools, village halls and hospitals will now be free to put on dance displays and concerts without having to apply to Lancaster City Council for permission.

Under current rules, event organisers either have to apply for a temporary notice at least 10 days prior to putting on a show, or apply for an entertainment licence, which can cost over £200.

Mick Dennison, landlord of the York Hotel on Lancaster Road, said: “It will help people to organise one-off events and let’s face it, that’s what we need more of in Morecambe.

“As far as pubs and clubs are concerned, their premises licence should cover them for most entertainment already.”

These changes to the 2003 Licensing Act are expected to be introduced in April.

Plays or dance performances watched by up to 500 people, held between 8am and 11pm, will no longer require a licence. Nor will indoor sporting events for up to 1,000 people held between those hours.

The Winter Gardens theatre in Morecambe, which opens sporadically for events, can currently apply for up to 12 temporary licences for live entertainment per year.

Evelyn Archer, chair of the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust, welcomed the new laws but said: “They will only apply in the Winter Gardens for events where our bar is not needed.”

Mrs Archer said the trust would be applying for a full premises licence to hold entertainment all year round.

David Morris MP also backed the new regulations. He said: “I hope this will lead to more events within my constituency and right across the country.”

A further relaxation of laws regarding live and recorded music, and film screenings at community venues is also being mooted.