Published: 09 June 2017 by Suraj Desor
Q. I have owned my bar for over five years and think it is time for a full refurbishment of the place. As part of this, I am looking to purchase the small unit next door, breaking through this to create more space for my bar and increase the trading space. What type of licensing application would be required for this expansion?
A. Depending on the council you may get different views as to the type of application required. On review of the information you have provided, I would think this may be a full variation of the Premises Licence on the basis that (I presume) the existing business will continue in the same way with the same licensable activities and hours of operation.
However, there are some licensing officers who will regard such an extension as warranting a new licence application due to, in their view, the proposed premises being so much larger than the previous, and as the changes are so “substantial”, the appropriate application is for a new Premises Licence.
The process for a new application is principally the same as a variation but I would highlight that with a new application the existing licensable activities and hours of operation (which in many cases would not now be granted) are not protected. A lot will depend on the locality of the premises, how residential the area is, trading history of your premises, the nature of the extension and the reasonableness of your licensing officer.
It may be advisable to contact the licensing officer first to confirm if they will accept the variation application but be prepared that you may not get the answer you want. Alternatively, the risk is that if you just go ahead and submit a variation, the licensing officer may reject this on the basis that changes are too “substantial” and resultantly you have to re-submit with a new application and lose time and costs.
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