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Can I use an external seating area?

Can members of my rugby club take drinks onto an external seating area?

Q:  I run a local Rugby Club operating under a club premises certificate and we have an external seating area which overlooks our rugby pitches.  I have always permitted our members to take their drinks outside when watching and supporting our players although one of my members recently suggested that I should not be allowing this, is this correct?

A:  This will depend upon the plans attached to your club premises certificate and the area identified where the supply of alcohol can be made for consumption on the premises.  Club Premises Certificates are different to Premises Licences in many ways, but the key point here is that there is a Mandatory Condition stating that the supply of alcohol for consumption off the premises can only be made in sealed containers (and only to members in person and not their guests). 

You should review your licensing plan and check to see if your external seating area is identified and if it has been included within your licensed area (the area where you can provide your licensable activities, including the supply of alcohol and regulated entertainment).  If this area is not currently identified on your plan then your knowledgeable club member is correct and alcohol should only be supplied in a sealed contained as this would be an ‘off sale/supply’. 

If you wish to continue to use your outside space for consumption of alcohol you could apply to vary your club premises certificate and include the seated area in your licensing plan.  There will be a number of considerations as the local Authorities may wish you to provide safeguards to ensure that the external licensed activities do not cause any problems.  Once the external area is included within your  “on sales” area, the relevant Mandatory Condition would no longer apply. 

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