The process for new businesses to get a licence to sell alcohol would be much simpler if the Parish of St. Helier was able to take the lead, according to the Constable.
Constable Simon Crowcroft is asking for the Government to set aside £100,000 next year to start the process of creating a ‘town council’, which would have more control over alcohol licensing, planning and environmental matters.
It’s something the Constable has been seeking to create for a number of years.
A shadow town council was successfully trialled between January 2020 and June 2021, after the parish found that its objectives were being “hampered by a lack of control and authority”, according to Mr Crowcroft.
Listen: Constable Crowcroft featured on the Politics Disassembled podcast this week (also available on other podcast streaming apps).
“This would allow government to concentrate on its core business, while allowing the St Helier to focus on providing more efficient and timely administrative services to its resident and business communities, while also supporting visitors,” the Constable said.
“Perhaps the best example is in respect of alcohol licensing which is a complex, lengthy, and costly process, involving not only attendance at a Parish Licensing Assembly, but also applications made through the Planning and Treasury departments, with the final decision being taken by the Licensing Bench.
“With Government Plans in recent years to reform the Licensing Law having made little progress there is an ideal opportunity for the application process and decision making to be transferred to the parish, freeing the time of both government departments and the judiciary, while also making it a simpler process and improved experience for applicants,” he said.
“There are other examples where the existing functions require reform, or the customer experience is equally complicated and where individuals and businesses complain about stifling red tape and frustration,” he added.
Mr Crowcroft hopes the £100,000 will be used to establish a 'project board', which will conduct research to put together proposals for the creation of a town council – to be considered by the States Assembly by June 2024.
“Further work is required to develop more detailed proposals before the States Assembly can consider this proposal. This amendment seeks to allocate resources to enable this work to be undertaken as part of the Government’s 2023 programme of work,” he said.
Appearing on the latest episode of Bailiwick Express’s Politics Disassembled podcast earlier this week, Mr Crowcroft said there were an “awful lot” of things the government did, which it did not need to.
'Why is government running car parks? It doesn’t do it anywhere else. Why is it running a market? These are things that parish authorities could be doing,” he said.
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