Published: 10 February 2020
The most common reasons for variation of a licence include where extended hours are sought, or conditions need amending, or an alteration is made to the layout for example to add an external bar or for a refurbishment.
Any change to the plans which would affect the details required by regulations to be included on the plan, will give rise to the need for variation. While it can be possible to proceed as a minor variation the Licensing Authority must be satisfied that the change will not adversely impact on the licensing objectives.
If this test is met, then the Licensing Officer can grant the application after a short and more limited consultation process. However, this test itself is subjective and different Licensing Authorities take a different view on what could adversely affect the licensing objectives, and if representations are made within the 10 working day consultation the application may be rejected. The fee is relatively small at £89 and along with a quicker timescale can we a useful alternative to a full vary.
Variations to add the sale by retail or supply of alcohol or to increase the amount of time during which it may be sold or supplied (in Clubs) to the licence are excluded from the minor variations process and must be treated as full variations in all cases. Some changes like breakfast opening for non licensable activities or amending certain conditions may also be achieved by way of the minor vary process but this depends on the facts of each situation.
If the minor variation procedure cannot be used then a full variation application needs to be made. This follows exactly the same procedure as a new Premises Licence, with all its attendant costs, and the need for advertisement on the premises and in the newspaper. You also have to carefully consider whether you need to make an application for a variation or a new Premises Licence. If you are effectively adding a significant amount of extra space to your premises, it may be regarded as a substantial variation and will require a new Premises Licence application. A small amount of additional space will probably only require a variation, and of course a minor rearrangement of the internal layout may use the minor variation procedure.
Longer trading hours for licensable activities will mostly require a full vary or again taken alongside other changes a new licence could be a consideration. Changes to conditions such as adding or removing conditions often can be achieved under the minor vary process but the reasons for the changes plus the views of the Authorities will be key in each case.
We advise contact is made with the Local Authority to obtain a preliminary view before submitting an application and some offer formal pre-consultation services. If you would like us to advice further please go to our contact page.
Even the Government could see that making someone advertise on the premises and in a newspaper might be a little over the top if you simply wanted to change your general manager and therefore the DPS.
There is therefore a streamlined variation procedure for the change of Designated Premises Supervisor and so long as the correct form is submitted, with the appropriate consent from the person who is the incoming DPS, and the fee, this application will be deemed to have immediate effect when it is received by the Local Authority.
This is an essential power within the Act, as the sudden departure of your DPS on a Friday afternoon could potentially leave you without the power to sell alcohol for the rest of the weekend.
This can be a very real and expensive problem, and we urge operators of licensed premises to take our advice in respect of these situations if they have any problems about making urgent applications. We also operate an out of hours procedure – telephone number 07795 011252.
Community premises (Church and Village Halls or a similar premises) can apply to remove the requirement for a DPS and replace it with a management committee.
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