Q I own a pub which is fortunate to have a function room with its own bar on the first floor. I frequently hold functions such as wedding receptions or birthday parties and I am considering applying for a special hours certificate (SHC). I have been told that I will also have to apply for a public entertainment licence (PEL) before I can do this. Should I have a PEL anyway?
A In order to apply for a PEL you will need to make the application to the local authority. Other authorities will also be notified of the application, for example the police and the fire authority.
The premises will be subject to examinations to make sure that it meets the required standards. An occupancy figure will also be imposed upon the function room. It is worthwhile making enquiries regarding this, as a number of factors are taken into account when calculating the occupancy figure.
It is also likely that you will have to display notices of the application on the premises and/or in a local newspaper. This means that the application could be subject to objections. It would be favourable if you have been able to operate the function room in the past without complaint. If you have received complaints then you should be aware that you are likely to receive objections and this could delay the PEL being granted.
With regard to the SHC, you are correct that a PEL is a prerequisite. Once the PEL is in place you would be able to apply to the court for a SHC and again you would need to send the application and display it on the premises and in a local newspaper. It is again possible that objections will be received to the application. You should also bear in mind that if you do have a SHC then you are obliged to use it on each occasion that it is applicable except for 14 days during any one year. Before applying for the SHC it may be worth considering exactly which days it would be beneficial to have.
It is strongly recommended that legal advice is taken in order to assist you through the application.