The announcement by the Department for Culture Media and Sport of their intention to deregulate entertainment licensing in the UK is welcomed by ACRE and the Rural Community Action Network (RCAN).
Village halls and similar rural community buildings provide a venue for the delivery of a wide range of local arts and cultural activities in rural communities. ACRE carried out a comprehensive survey in 2009 and has produced a number of Reports. In particular, Rural Community Buildings, Arts, Sports and Licensing Requirements, demonstrated that 80% of halls are used for arts activity contributing to the trebling of use of rural halls over the last 20 years.
75% of rural halls currently have to hold a Premises Licence which permits a variety of entertainment to be held in public. The top activities, according to ACRE‟s survey, are the performance of live music and playing of recorded music, followed by the performance of dance. There is no charge for the Licence but it requires a significant amount of administration. Removing the need for the Licence will release a burden from volunteers, as well as from the local authorities administering applications. Where hall committees have to apply for Temporary Event Notices for entertainment there will be financial savings which will be very much appreciated by those raising funds for the running costs of the hall.
Deborah Clarke, ACRE's Rural Community Buildings Officer commented: "Volunteers managing rural halls have been struggling with the level of legislation and bureaucracy over the last few years and will find this initiative a move in the right direction. We are pleased that DCMS have taken action as part of the Government‟s Red Tape Challenge".
ACRE and RCAN will be encouraging rural communities across England to contribute positively to the consultation.
For more information, please visit the Licensing page in the Village Hall Information Service section of the ACRE website.