Published: 13 March 2014
Q: I submitted an application to change the layout of my pub, but I thought whilst doing this I would also maximise trade by extending late night refreshment by 1 hour. The application was granted, but a Licensing Officer visited and advised me that I could not serve hot food for the extra hour, nor could I operate under the Premises Licence as the works at the premises had not been done. Is this correct?
A: As you will be aware, the plans form an integral part of the Premises Licence and must therefore be an accurate reflection of the current layout of the premises. If not, and you trade, then you will run the risk of operating ‘otherwise than in accordance’ with your Premises Licence, which is a criminal offence. It sounds as though you didn’t sufficiently distinguish in your application the request for late night refreshment from the permission for building works. Without knowing the detail I can only say that where a single application is made for combined permissions it is best to clearly set out that one is not dependent upon the other (for example, if you apply for an extra hours’ trade on a weekend but offer doorstaff as a condition, be careful that you don’t end up with doorstaff every night of the week). It may have been possible to apply for late night refreshment to apply to both your current layout and the proposed layout in a single application, provided it was worded precisely enough. Further, it appears that you applied for the change to the layout to have immediate effect, whereas no doubt you were awaiting confirmation of the grant of your application before commencing works, The best way to address this is to phrase your application so that the change to layout aspect doesn’t have effect until the Licensing Authority is notified in writing, which means you can ensure the ‘new’ licence has effect at the same time as the works have been completed. These applications can become quite complex and it may be wise to take legal advice.
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