Licence breach could bring closure
Q: I had a visit from my local licensing officer and police licensing officer and when they left they gave me a document called a Section 19 Closure Notice, which says I am breaching the CCTV condition on my premises licence because footage is only stored for 14 days (the condition on my licence says CCTV must be stored for 31 days). I am very worried — will I have to close?
A: There are many types of closure notices. A Section 19 Closure Notice may be issued by an authorised officer of the local authority or an authorised police officer, and identifies that the premises licence holder is operating a premises and selling alcohol otherwise than in accordance with their premises licence. This notice does not require you to close or to stop selling alcohol.
However, if the issuing officer is not satisfied the breach identified on the notice has been rectified, they may seek a closure order from a magistrates court within seven days and six months of the date of the notice.
This closure order may require you to shut until the breach is rectified. You should, therefore, either carry out the necessary works to your CCTV system as soon as possible to ensure it complies with the condition, or you could try to vary your premises licence to amend the condition. If you are operating in breach of your premises licence, you could also be subject to other enforcement action including prosecution or a review of the premises licence. If in any doubt, take legal advice.
What’s the rule on pavement furniture?
Q: I operate a small chain of cafés in different parts of London. I would like to put some tables and chairs on the pavement outside the front of some of my premises. However, one council has told me I need planning permission to do so while another has said I do not. Can you clarify this?
A: If the external area you would like to put furniture on is privately owned, you need permission from the owner. If you are a tenant, this may be your landlord. You may also require planning permission. If the area is owned by the local authority, you will need permission from them.
Each council is free to set its own rules in respect of how you obtain consent from them. Some councils require both planning permission and a separate licence (named variously a “tables and chairs licence”, a “pavement licence”, a “street trading licence”, or something else entirely) to be obtained. Whether you require planning permission, a separate licence, or both — and in what order you need to obtain them — is up to the specific authority.
Speak to your local highways department, or take legal advice.