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Legal Q&A: Late TEN rejection and slight licensing variation

By Poppleston Allen

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Too late to object: don’t slip up with your temporary event notices
Too late to object: don’t slip up with your temporary event notices

Related tags Licensing

The latest legal Q&A from specialist licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen covers late temporary event notice refusal and informing licensing authorities of variations from layout plans.

Late TEN is rejected

Q: I run a local rugby club and received a booking for which I need to operate beyond the hours permitted on my premises licence. I am familiar with temporary event notices (TENs) and usually very good at submitting them on time.

However, I have just been away on holiday and this slipped my mind, so I missed the 10 working days deadline. As a result, I had to submit a late TEN. The police have objected to it on the grounds of potential crime and disorder and the licensing authority has informed me the event cannot go ahead. Is there anything I can do?

A: In short, I am afraid the answer is no. Unlike a standard TEN – under which you would have the opportunity to respond to any objections at a hearing – if a late TEN receives a valid objection, the licensing authority must issue a counter notice refusing the TEN. The deadlines are a very common banana skin for operators to slip up on and the potential costs to your business for getting it wrong can be substantial from both a financial and reputational perspective.

In terms of a solution, you can look into whether any exemptions under the Licensing Act apply, or if any of the licensable activities you intend to carry out are deregulated. But, you must be very careful when relying on any exemptions or deregulation and should always seek professional advice. Carrying out licensable activities without the authorisation of a premises licence, club premises certificate or a TEN is a criminal offence.

Slight variation

Q: I recently acquired a multi-storey restaurant and have invested in a significant renovation of the premises. I duly submitted an application to vary the licence plans, for which the consultation period ends in a week’s time. The works are scheduled to complete and the restaurant reopen in approximately a fortnight.

However, due to some unforeseen circumstances during construction we have had to rebuild the stairway in a different location to where it is shown on the layout plans submitted with the application. I do not think this makes much of a difference to the premises licence, but should I tell the licensing authority?

A: First of all, it is important to bear in mind that the layout plans form part of a premises licence and certain items are required by the regulations to be shown, the location of stairs being one of them. If one of these items is inaccurate then the premises would in fact be trading in breach of the licence.

The licensing authority could take enforcement action until the plans are updated. Having said that, if the changes are only minor then as long as you are doing everything in your power to update the plans it is relatively uncommon for an authority to take enforcement action on this basis.

It is important the plans accurately reflect the layout once the works are completed. Where you have submitted an application to vary the plans and there have been minor changes during the course of the works then some authorities will accept an informal substitution of the plans during the consultation period, but in many cases a further minor variation application will be required. In the case of a relocated staircase, this is something that may impact on escape routes. As such, the licensing authority could even require a full variation application.

We would advise consulting with the licensing authority on plans variations where possible and, if in doubt, seek professional advice.

For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website​.

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