Heartache over licence conditions

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Licence, License

Sonia Young, Editor
Sonia Young, Editor
Since licences are still being issued, it is only now that some have a chance to see the actual terms of their licence. It does not always make good...

Since licences are still being issued, it is only now that some have a chance to see the actual terms of their licence. It does not always make good reading.

I have been contacted by several licensees questioning the raft of conditions added to their licences, particularly by those who applied for a straight conversion and assumed that they would receive the same terms as before.

Let us be clear: that was the intention. It is not legally possible for a licensing authority to place additional conditions on the new premises licence, whatever they might think. They do not have a discretion to do this.

The problem arises both from legal advice that they have received, which I have criticised before, and from perhaps an over-zealous attitude from certain officers who are devising their own "operating schedule" for the converted licences.

The fact that the conditions are printed on the licence received does not make them right. It is quite in order for the licensee to question any condition that is newly added, and ask the council to explain it.

There are a limited number of what are called "mandatory conditions" that are directly taken from the Licensing Act 2003 and which apply to all licences. Principal among these is that there must be a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) for the premises in question, and that all sales must be "authorised" by a person holding a personal licence.

The second two mandatory conditions, however, should not be included automatically. They only apply where the licence authorises the exhibition of films, or where there is already a condition requiring door supervisors at the premises. Yet I have seen both placed on ordinary converted pub licences as a matter of course.

Other conditions concerning noise, litter or closing times cannot be imposed as of right on a converted licence. They follow representations and a clear indication to the authority that there is a problem. Standard terms and conditions are not allowed.

Now is the time to challenge these "extras." When you receive the licence, check it carefully and raise an objection if you suspect an addition. It is then up to the licensing authority to examine their rights under the transitional arrangements and see if they have over-stepped the line. If they have, then they should put it right, without the need for an appeal.

Related topics: Licensing law

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