Legal Q&A: Trading on notable days

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Nothing to be scared of: make the most of festive dates to increase takings
Nothing to be scared of: make the most of festive dates to increase takings
The latest legal Q&A from specialist licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen tackles trading on notable days and licensing checks for making changes to a pub forecourt

Trading on notable days

Q. I have taken over a pub and with Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night and various other events leading up to and including Christmas and new year, I would like to make the most of this festive period. I have reviewed my premises licence and it does not allow me to trade beyond 1am on any day and ideally I would like to trade later on some of the notable days. I know I can submit a variation of my premises licence but are there any other options I should consider?

A.​ Firstly, it is worth checking the terms of your premises licence as although you may not have standard hours beyond 1am, there may be additional permissions, called non-standard timings on your licence, which may permit extra trade hours on certain notable days. 

If you do not have any relevant non-standard timings on your premises licence for you to trade later on these notable days, or you do have later hours on notable days but there are restrictive conditions attached to your licence, then this may prevent you from operating as you would like. 

You are right that there is the option for you to permanently amend this by applying for a variation of your premises licence. Alternatively, for a ‘temporary fix’ you can lodge temporary event notices (TENs) with the licensing authority, police, and environmental health department (or the licensing authority only if you are using the online service, as they then serve the other authorities). Whether you are using a TEN or submitting a variation of the premises licence, there are relevant time scales and restrictions involved, and it would be prudent to seek legal advice or speak with your local licensing officer to progress either option.

Private forecourt

Q. I have a private forecourt in front of my bar but it is in a bit of a state. However, following the wonderful summer, I am thinking of getting the forecourt cleared, so it is in a suitable state to place tables and chairs out there for customer use. I have already checked with the council and as this is my own private land no tables and chairs licence, planning permission or other permissions are required. However, should there be any other licensing checks I should consider?​.

A.​ Placing tables and chairs outside to utilise your forecourt can be a great idea to boost business. I understand that you have already checked and confirmed permissions but you should also make checks on your premises licence.

Check your premises licence and the relevant permissions and conditions attached to the licence, as well as the licensing plans. In particular, check the plans attached to your premises licence and whether the private forecourt is licensed for licensable activities. If the forecourt is not licensed for licensable activities and the area will only be used for consumption of food and drink (including alcohol), ensure your premises licence permits off-sales of alcohol (as well as on-sales), as any drink purchased from within the premises and taken to the forecourt for consumption would be considered an off-sale of alcohol. 

Also, check whether there are any conditions on the licence that restrict use of the area, such as the number of customers permitted outside, restrictions as to the hours outside areas can be used and how that outside area can be used.

If there are any restrictions on the licence that make use of the outside area operationally difficult, you can always make an appropriate licensing application to vary your licence to remove or relax these restrictions. If you do go down this route, it would be sensible to take legal advice to ensure the best approach is taken.

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