Temporary event notices
Q: I am the owner of a large and popular public house and, during the past year, I used up my quota of temporary event notices (TENs) under section 100 of the Licensing Act 2003. As a result, the police advised me to check my premises licence and apply for a variation to update it. What does he mean?
A. It may be worth contacting the officer to clarify the advice he has given you. However, I suspect that he was purely being helpful and wanted you to look at other options apart from applying for TENs.
If he has suggested that you apply for a variation of your Premises Licence under section 34 or 41A of the Licensing Act 2003, it would be worth reviewing your entire premises licence to see whether other parts of the licence need to be addressed.
For example, check whether you have any non-standard timings that allow you to trade extra hours over bank holidays or New Year’s Eve, and if are there old unenforceable conditions that should be removed.
Have a look at the restrictions on your premises licence and see whether they will affect your future trade. For example, is there a condition on your licence that restricts the time you can use your outside area or permit children on the premises? You may wish to relax or even remove those conditions.
Have a look at the current approved licence plans and ensure they accurately illustrate the layout of the premises. If not, the plans would also need to be varied.
However, the main issue is the number of TENs you use. You could see whether the events can be categorised. The authorities may be amenable to you increasing your hours to conduct, for example, private events such as wedding receptions and birthday parties under the ambit of the premises licence, which would mean that you would not have to cover these by way of a TEN. You may also wish to include special events such as international sporting events.
Alternatively, you may have to explore varying opening hours and licensable activities generally to accommodate your events.
The start of 2019 is an ideal time to not only refresh your operation, but also for you to look at your premises licence to ensure that you can maximise opportunities.
Incident at premises
Q: During the new year period, there was an incident at my premises. This was all covered by CCTV and the police attended and arrested a young girl for slapping her boyfriend. She was later released without charge but the police have asked me to attend an ‘off the record’ chat with their superiors and a council licensing officer. Do I need to worry?
A. The incident seems to have been resolved so I cannot see any reason for the authorities wanting to speak to you, especially with a senior police officer and a council licensing officer present. This seems a little more formal than an off-the-record chat.
I am always apprehensive about these meetings as I can assure you that someone at the meeting will be taking notes. This will not be a situation where you can easily refuse to give information or walk out.
My advice is always to have legal representation, especially after an incident where the police attended.
If you attend the meeting on your own and the meeting becomes ‘uncomfortable’ then you are at liberty to inform the people present that you require legal advice. You can then ring a licensing solicitor and explain the situation or alternatively, re-arrange the off-the-record chat so you can attend with a legal representative.
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