Pub premises licences: advantages of a minor variation

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Premises licence License

Premises exits: on the list of things that must be shown on licensed plans
Premises exits: on the list of things that must be shown on licensed plans
It’s often tempting to only consider making an application to vary your premises licence when you want to extend your hours or add a new licensable activity.

However, it’s advisable to take a look at your premises licence, its plan and conditions, to see whether they are consistent with the type of venue you are running. Here are a few things to look out for.
Check your licensed plans
If you don’t have a copy of your plans, obtain one from the licensing authority. Do they reflect the current layout of the premises? If not, you could be trading unlawfully, which may, in the most serious cases, result in enforcement action requiring you to close pending your licensed plans being updated. If the changes are minor then you can probably use a minor variation at a cost of £89.
Your plan must show:

  • The extent of the boundary of the building and any external and internal walls. It must also show the perimeter of the premises if this is different (you may be licensing an outdoor area, for example a beer garden, in which case this must be shown as well).
  • Location points of access to and egress from the premises.
  • Additional escape routes.
  • If different licensable activities are taking place in different parts of the premises, the areas within the premises used for each activity (if the whole premises is to be licensed for all activities you don’t need to distinguish).
  • Furniture, gaming machines or similar objects that may impact on the ability of individuals to use exits or escape routes without impediment.
  • Stages or raised areas together with the height.
  • Steps, stairs, elevators or lifts.
  • The location of public toilets.
  • Fire safety equipment.
  • The kitchen, if any.

The above are the only things that are required to be shown on your plans. If your plans show more detail than this then that is perfectly acceptable, but some licensing authorities may require a variation if you subsequently change them. If you are going to make a variation, it may be worth considering revising your plans to the minimum required by the regulations to avoid any unnecessary further variations in future.

You may still have embedded conditions from the old licensing regime that have not been removed from your licence. These are usually easy to spot — the common ones are restricting children in bars and a drinking up time of 20 minutes. Few licensing authorities will object to you amending your licence to remove these out of date conditions. The same goes for many old ‘public entertainment licence’ conditions.

If you are showing pre-recorded DVDs or music videos you may need to add films as a licensable activity.

Do you have any inconsistent conditions, for example a condition imposed by a licensing authority at a hearing that conflicts with one that was offered in the original licence application? This often happens with requirements for doorstaff or CCTV.

In short, have a look at your operation, its hours and activities together with the current layout of your premises. See whether your licence, plans and conditions allow you to operate with flexibility and clarity.

If not, and the changes required are minor, you may be able to apply for a minor variation — otherwise, you may need a full application with a 28-day consultation period. Either way, it is better that you voluntarily make any necessary changes rather than having them forced on you by the authorities.

Related topics Licensing law

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