Make plans now to boost business at your pub

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

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Make plans now to boost business at your pub
You may still be recovering from an excess of Christmas spirit and be busy taking down the festive decorations, but now is the perfect time to plan for a refurbishment of your premises or an overhaul of your premises licence.

Rather than submitting an application for a full variation, why not take advantage of the rules relating to minor variations? If you are considering a small modification to the internal layout of your premises or simply tidying up your licence to remove an old condition, minor variations are cheaper, quicker and easier than the full variation process.

Let’s look at the rules that apply to minor variations:

  • Such small variations must satisfy the licensing authority that they will not impact adversely on the licensing objectives (prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; prevention of public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm).
  • If they meet this test, the licensing officer will grant the application quickly and full consultation is not required.
  • However, this test itself is subjective and different licensing authorities take a different view on what could adversely affect the licensing objectives.
  • The fee is relatively small at £89.

What is the procedure?

  • Download the minor variation application form from your local authority’s website.
  • If you are applying for a variation to the layout of your premises, you must include a revised plan.
  • You should include a statement about why you consider your variation proposals could not possibly impact on the licensing objectives. You should cover each of the objectives that could possibly apply to your proposal.
  • Send the completed form to your local licensing authority.
  • You must then advertise your application locally by displaying it on a white notice in a place that is visible to the public.
  • The notice must be displayed for 10 working days, starting on the working day after the application was given to the licensing authority.
  • When considering your application, there is no right to a hearing, but the authority must take any relevant representation into account in arriving at a decision.
  • The authority must determine the application within 15 working days. If it fails to respond to you within 15 days of your application it will be treated as refused and the authority must return your fee.

Remember the following rules when deciding if your application is a minor variation or requires an application for a full variation.

Minor variations can be used for such changes as:

  • Small changes to the structure or layout of your premises.
  • The addition of late-night refreshment or regulated entertainment.
  • Small changes to licensing hours (but see rules below on sale/supply of alcohol).
  • Revisions, removals and additions of conditions (e.g. where those conditions are out of date).

Minor variations cannot be used:

  • To add the retail sale or supply of alcohol to a licence.
  • To extend the licensing hours for the sale/supply of alcohol at any time between 11pm and 7am.
  • To extend the period for which the licence has effect.
  • To transfer the licence.
  • To ‘disapply’ the mandatory conditions relating to a designated premises supervisor.

What are you waiting for? If you make a start now, you could have your permission in place by the end of January.

Related topics Licensing law