These plans form part of the premises licence and they must be an accurate representation of the layout of the premises. If your plans are not correct then you would technically be operating in breach of your premises licence and you may be subject to enforcement action.
The plans are integral and you really need to ensure that you get them right. Here are a few pointers:
- Plans must be drawn in accordance with the Licensing Act 2003 plans regulations. These set out the information that must be shown on licensing plans, including the extent of the premises, access and egress points, fire equipment, fixed structures, heights of raised areas, kitchens and customer facilities – among other things
- If the premises is being used for more than one licensable activity, each area must be defined. In practice, we normally see one area highlighted where all licensable activities will take place. However, if you have separate areas for separate activities, you will need to address this
- Always check with the local authority as some will be more stringent than others. For example, a plan must be accurate and to scale, however, some authorities prefer a specific scale or, for example, drawn on a certain sized paper
- If you have any external or other areas, such as function rooms, even if these are not licensed, you may need to show them on the plans or at least reference them in the application. This is quite a tricky legal matter and may require legal advice
- When you are defining any licensed area, remember to include the area behind any bars. This ensures that the sale of alcohol takes place within the licensed area. You do not normally need to include customer facilities such as toilets within the licensed area
- There are certain items you must show, including fixed furniture and other furniture that could impact on the use of any escape routes. However, you do not normally need to show loose furniture otherwise, or other items such as gaming machines. Ere may be circumstances where you want to show such items, however, and you should clearly mark up the plans that these are for illustrative purposes only
- If you are undertaking significant works then make sure you keep the licensing authority updated if there are any changes to the plans that you may have had approved under an application. Further applications may be required
Plans can be tricky but it is vital to get them right. Any problems with the plans will, at best, delay your application and it could put you in a situation where you are facing enforcement action to remedy something very minor.
For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website.