Innsatiable: Pub trade welcomes controversial venue's premises licence application

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Premises licence License Simon atkins

Controversial: the Innsatiable site in Farnham, Surrey
Controversial: the Innsatiable site in Farnham, Surrey
Key industry figures have hailed the news that the owner of the controversial ‘free bar’ Innsatiable, in Farnham, Surrey, has applied for a premises licence.

Innsatiable has caused uproar among licensees and pub trade bodies because it offers free alcohol to customers before inviting them to “support the business” by buying beer mats for £2.75.

However, owner Simon Atkins has now applied for a premises licence, claiming he wants to “offer consumers an alternative to the large pub company and brewery-dominated landscape of Britain’s drinks industry”.

A Waverley Borough Council spokesman said: “Licensing officers have been working hard to assist the owner with the application.”

The application is the subject of a 28-day consultation period, which ends on 2 November. If no valid representations are made before, the licence will be deemed granted from the next working day.

Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director at the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, praised Atkins’ decision and said she looked forward to welcoming him into the trade.

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “If this outlet has been selling alcohol, it is right it applies for a licence, which, if granted, would put it on a level footing with pubs in the town.”

The PMA revealed last week that Atkins had signed up five new outlets, as well as franchises in London and northern England, for the controversial concept.

The view from the legal experts

Andy Grimsey, partner at licensing law firm Poppleston Allen, believes Innsatiable should have no problem securing a premises licence. “I am glad Mr Atkins has finally seen sense,” he said.

“Responsible operators should focus on promoting licensing objectives rather than looking for loopholes.

“Assuming Farnham doesn’t have a cumulative impact policy, and if he hasn’t undermined licensing objectives, there isn’t any particular reason why he wouldn’t be granted a licence.

"The council has encouraged him to apply for one, and his competition may want him on a level playing field, so that could put him in a stronger position [to get a licence].”

Related topics Licensing law

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