Posted: Monday, 4 March 2013 @ 10:33 Physical alterations
If you are thinking about carrying out any physical alterations to premises which have a Premises Licence
or Club Premises Certificate
for one or more licensable activities
, the first thing to is to check the authorised plan of the premises. This is the plan which was filed with the licensing authority
when the licence was first applied for, or if any subsequent application for variation has been made, the plan filed with the latest approved application.
The filed plan forms part of the Premises Licence. If what you intend to do is a physical change from the filed plan, then you will need to apply for a variation. Ordinarily this would mean a full application for variation, in much the same way as applying for a new Premises Licence, with all the requirements for advertisement, service of the application, and payment of fees.
However, there is a minor variations procedure which can be used for most physical changes. For example moving a bar structure or knocking down internal wall. But any changes which will increase the capacity for drinking or affect emergency access and exits or affect sound proofing measures should be pursued through a full variation application. Minor Variations Procedure
Using the minor variations procedure is much more simple, cheaper and quicker. The formal application and any new plan has only to be served on the licensing authority with the fee (currently £89), and the application notice displayed in the statutory form on the premises for 10 working days starting the day after the application was received by the licensing authority. It is for the licensing authority to notify and consult with other responsible authorities. If any representations are received, the licensing authority must decide whether to grant the application or reject it. There is no right to a hearing. If it is rejected and the applicant still wishes to argue the case, a fresh start will be necessary with a full application for variation. Operational Changes
Some operational changes can be made through the minor variations procedure. Examples:
1. Removing licensable activities from the premises licence
2. Extending licensing hours for the sale or supply of alcohol (but not to extend the hours between 23:00 and 07:00 and not to increase the overall hours on any day when alcohol may be sold). Basically this means that you can shift the hours but any increase in hours for the sale of alcohol will mean that a full variation application is needed.
3. Varying the time for other licensable activities
4. Changing the opening hours of the premises
5. Voluntarily adding conditions to the Premises Licence
6. Removing conditions endorsed on a Premises Licence
The minor variations procedure is well worth considering if what you propose is relatively uncontroversial. Otherwise you may save yourself time and money by just going for the full variation application.
Before launching on a variation application it is better to first seek advice. This may just involve a quick call to the licensing officer at your licensing authority, and perhaps a word with the police licensing officer. If you encounter problems then early legal advice may save you costs in the long run. Nigel Musgrove
Licensing Law Specialist
Tel: 0845 003 5639
Blog by Nigel Musgrove
Nigel has been providing dispute resolution advice as a solicitor for over 35 years. As well as advising SMEs and business owners on disputes he also offers a specialist licensing law service. View profile
This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation
to discuss your particular circumstances.