Special Saturation Policy for Licensing

We have considered the cumulative impact of the number of licensed premises on alcohol related disorder and antisocial behaviour in different parts of Oxford.

Having taken into account data from Thames Valley Police, we have adopted a policy of restricting the expansion of certain types of licensed premises in the City centre and East Oxford areas so as not to add to the existing impact on the surrounding streets.


The effect of the Special Saturation Policy (SSP) is to create a rebuttable presumption that applications for premises in these areas will normally be refused, although it does not prohibit applications being made.

Types of applications covered


The policy covers applications for new premises licences or club premises certificates or material variations to existing licences or certificates.

Types of premises affected


The SSP will mainly affect applications for premises that sell alcohol for consumption on the premises, because they are more likely to add to the cumulative impact of alcohol fuelled behaviour on the street. In contrast the impact of restaurants with table service is likely to be small.

The policy cannot be retrospectively applied to existing premises and will never be used as a ground for revoking an existing licence or certificate.

How applications are determined

Applications will have to be treated on their individual merits as usual and will require a formal hearing to determine them where necessary.

Please note however, that a relevant representation must have been made during the consultation period of any application for the matter to be referred to a Licensing Sub-Committee Hearing.

If no relevant representations are made, the Act requires us to grant the application in its entirety.


Policy consideration


The policy can only be considered if relevant representations are received objecting to an application during the consultation period. Representations must refer to information which had been before the Council when it developed its Statement of Licensing Policy, before it may lawfully consider giving effect to the policy.

Presumption of refusal


The presumption is rebuttable, because it is open to the applicant to demonstrate that the licensable activities proposed will not add to cumulative impact. The applicant will be expected to demonstrate in their application, the steps to be taken to prevent problems relating to public nuisance and public safety and steps to be taken to promote the reduction of crime and disorder.

Material variation


A material variation would be where the proposed modifications to an existing licence are directly relevant to the Special Saturation Policy, for example an application to vary a licence with a view to increasing the occupancy of a premises or to extending the operating hours where evidence demonstrates the variation would add to the problems of cumulative impact.

Further information


You can find the full SSP in Section 3 of the Council's Statement of Licensing Policy and data supplied by Thames Valley Police in Appendix 12.