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Legal Q&A: advice for using outdoor space

By Poppleston Allen

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Pub garden: how can pub operators best utilise garden and pavement space?
Pub garden: how can pub operators best utilise garden and pavement space?

Related tags Garden

The latest legal Q&A from specialist licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen discusses how to best user front, rear and pavement pub space.

How to use my front garden

Q. Now that the festive period is over, I would like to do some forward planning in relation to the use of my outside areas in the summer.

I have a local pub, serving food and alcohol up until 11pm. I have a front and rear garden with a large area on the pavement with scenic views.

The outside areas are financially lucrative, however, my rear garden is not on my premises licence plans, but my front garden is included within the line for licensable activities. How can I use my front garden?

A: Your front garden permits you to sell alcohol as well as have consumption in that area. Subject to any specific conditions prohibiting this you should be able to sell alcohol not only from the bar inside the premises but also from a front garden bar servery for consumption on the premises as shown on the premises licence plans.

If your premises licence has the benefit of off-sales, and it is not restricted, then you can also sell alcohol from the outside servery on an off-sale basis as well. However, you may need to update your licensed plans to show any physical bar servery. This depends upon local licensing practice, how permanent it is, and it may of course also require planning consent. It is better to clarify this with your licensing authority in these winter months to allow time for any variation application required.

…what about the rear?

Q. Following on from my first question, how can I use my rear garden, which is not shown on my premises licence?

A: The revised guidance issued under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003, paragraphs 8.35 to 8.37 provides us with some assistance here.

The consumption of alcohol is not licensable; it is the sale of alcohol that is the licensable activity. If alcohol is ordered by a customer in your garden and staff collect it from the licensed premises to deliver to the customer, this is classed as an off-sale. The sale is said to take place where the alcohol is appropriated to the contract (i.e. at the bar).

It is, therefore, not necessary to include the rear garden on the licence plan. However, you need to ensure that you have the benefit of off-sales on your premises licence and that you comply with any conditions relating to off-sales. If there are any restrictions such as ‘off-sales are to be made in sealed containers’, then these will have to be amended by way of a variation of your existing premises licence.

During the course of the application it is likely and advisable to provide a description of where your unlicensed garden is and its proximity to the premises.

If you have off-sales, you will also be able to sell alcohol from your licensed front garden servery, to customers who have ordered alcohol from your rear garden on an off-sale basis, Again, this is subject to any restrictions on your premises licence.

…and there’s the pavement

Q. Finally, there is a large pavement area in front of my main entrance, where customers sit and have a leisurely meal. Again, this is not shown on my premises licence plans but can I sell alcohol on an off-sales basis for consumption there?

A: If the area is a local authority highway and you do not have a pavement/tables and chairs licence, then you may not be able to use this area.

Most local authorities will require you to obtain a table and chairs licence/pavement licence and this is a slow, sometimes expensive and prescriptive process.

You will often require public liability insurance, detailed specifications of all furniture being used, a plan of the area, and possibly planning permission.

Once you have the council’s authority, then yes, alcohol collected from a licensed bar servery can be provided to customers in that area for consumption on an off-sale basis, subject to any specific conditions on the relevant permissions.

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

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