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Extending my premises

What do I need to consider?

Q:  I own a pub and I have the opportunity of buying a next door shop and “knocking through”.  The extra premises is going to add about another third in terms of increase to the trading space.  What type of licensing application should I make?

A:  You will get differing views on this from various councils.  From what you have said, I believe this is 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; in other words the proposed premises will be so much larger than the previous one that the appropriate application is for a new Premises Licence.  The process is principally the same but, of course, with a new application the existing licensable activities and hours of operation (which in many cases would not now be granted) are not protected. 

As ever, much will depend on the trading history of your premises, how residential the area is, the nature of the extension and the reasonableness of your licensing officer.  You could contact the officer first but you may get the answer you do not want.  The risk is that if you bite the bullet and submit a variation and the licensing officer rejects this on the basis that changes are too “substantial” you then lose time and costs and have to re-submit with a new application.

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