Missed out on changing operating hours

  • Date: 10 December 2015
  • Author/Solicitor: Steve Burnett
  • Source: Reproduced from the Publican's Morning Advertiser

Q:  I have just taken over a public house and I want to ensure that I maximise my trading potential over the Christmas and New Year period.  However, my licence only allows me to trade up until 11pm Monday to Sundays.  Ideally, I would like to trade on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve through until New Year’s Day.  I have been told that it is too late and I have “missed the boat.”  Can you advise me of my options?  

A:  First and foremost, it would be wise to check your Premises Licence, as this may give you authority to trade extra hours on named special day such as bank holidays, Bonfire night and Valentine’s Day. It may include New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve.  If you have the authority on your Licence, you should then check your Premises Licence conditions to see whether or not there are other conditions you must satisfy in order to trade the extra hours. On some licences I have seen conditions requiring you to give either the Police or the Licensing Department prior notice of the event. 

If you do not have a special permission on your licence or if the hours permitted are not enough, then you will have to rely on an authority under a Temporary Event Notice. 

In respect of Christmas Eve, you are likely too late to apply for a standard Temporary Event Notice (the Notice must be lodged with the Council at least 10 clear working days before the event).  You will therefore have to lodge a late Temporary Event Notice and this must be lodged with the Council, the Police and Environmental Health Department at your local authority area at least five clear working days before Christmas Eve. If you lodge your TEN using the council's electronic facility then the licensing authority will serve the other authorities direct. Some licensing police officers will agree not to object, subject to you undertaking to comply with certain conditions. Unfortunately, if there are any objections from the Police or the Environmental Health Department to a late Temporary Event Notice there is no hearing or appeal - it is an absolute veto. 

In respect of New Year’s Eve, you may just have enough time to lodge a standard Temporary  Event Notice.  Again, the Notice must be lodged with the Licensing Department, Police and Environmental Health Department (EHO) at least 10 clear working days in advance of New Year’s Eve. It is therefore crucial that in your calculations, you take into account the holidays and bank holidays over the Christmas period. A Late TEN is the only alternative otherwise. 

Often the police will expect you to have registered door staff, so it might be worth you provisionally booking a team for that day.