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Friday, 01 August 2014

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New Year cancelled for first time in 30 years

Houghton Village Hall: Despite  reminders there was no application for a licence

By Anna Richardson

NEW Year’s Eve has been cancelled in Houghton this year – because the village hall committee fell foul of new licensing laws.

Along with other licensed premises across the UK, the hall’s licence expired in November.

But a new one was never applied for, leaving villagers with no New Year’s Eve party for the first time in more than 30 years.

Residents are left with nowhere to see in 2006, as there are no pubs in the village. The hall has been the focal point of the New Year celebrations for decades.

A villager said: “Local residents are outraged at this turn of events as it leaves their plans to celebrate the New Year in tatters.”

A spokesperson from Carlisle city council confirmed that despite sending reminders to licensed premises all over Carlisle, they had received no application for a licence from the village hall.

She said: “Houghton village hall, under the new Licensing Act 2003 which came into force on November 24th 2005, does not have a liquor license, late night refreshment license or temporary event license which means that they are unable to hold events at this time.”

No-one from the village hall committee was available to comment, although it is thought that their failure to apply for a licence was simply an “oversight” .

Temporary licenses can be obtained for such events but there is a statutory 10-day consultation period which Carlisle City Council staff can not waive.

Now organisers are trying to ensure that revellers do not turn out for the big event only to arrive at an empty building.

Local five-piece band Ratpack turned down a gig at St Augustine’s social club to play at Houghton this year.

The band, who have played to sell-out crowds at the village hall for 12 consecutive new year dances, helped organise this year’s dance after learning that the previous New Year’s Eve committee had dissolved and locals faced no celebrations at all.

Ticket holders can receive a full refund by returning tickets to the point of sale. Any queries from members of the public should be directed to the village hall committee.

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