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LONDON-A survey commissioned by the Leisure Property Forum found widespread support for reform of Britain’s licensing laws, some of which date back 500 years. More than 75% of those surveyed would favour a single statutory framework controlling the licensing of liquor, public entertainment, night cafes, cinemas and theatres. But there was little support for total deregulation with 70% believing that alcohol and entertainment licenses helps regulate social behaviour, prevents conflicts with other uses and helps maintain the vitality of town centres.

The survey was timed to influence Government thinking on licensing laws. It has already pledged to create a new structure for the benefit of leisure operators, licensing justices, town planners and the public, and it is expected to introduce a bill to Parliament in its next session. The survey was clear on the need for change, with 61% of leisure operators believing that the current system is too slow and 35% perceiving it to be biased.

Angus McIntosh, Head of Research at King Sturge and Chairman of the Leisure Property Forum said, “There was strong sentiment in favour of a single statutory framework for alcohol and entertainment licensing. However, the case for one authority controlling alcohol, entertainment and gaming, as well as town planning, was not proven from this survey.”

The report is sponsored by Osborne Clarke and assembled by Kingston University and King Sturge.

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