MA Leaders Club

Time to go for new sites and diversify your model

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

A chance for change: Sarah Taylor of Poppleston Allen
A chance for change: Sarah Taylor of Poppleston Allen

Related tags Legislation Multi-site pub operators Branding + marketing

Operators have been urged to apply for new sites in a post-Covid world and appeal to local authorities to abandon their cumulative impact policies (CIPSs).

Sarah Taylor, partner at legal expert Poppleston Allen, gave her assessment at the MA leaders Club in Leeds on Thursday (23 September).

She said: “There are opportunities being born from Covid. This has been one of the most hard-hit industries. It’s clear to the industry has been left decimated.”

But added that “there will be cheap properties and I hope you all go forward and go for them.”

Pent-up demand

After explaining how to go about applying for pavement licences​, Taylor went on to talk about the “new normal” presented to the industry.

She said neighbours are now used to quiet streets, but people are ready to celebrate and there is pent-up demand ready to be unleashed.

On CIPs, which are policies that local governments can issue to limit the growth of licensed premises in an area perceived to be problematic, Taylor questioned whether they are still fit for purpose.

She explained that although areas may have introduced such a policy in the past, local authorities have an obligation to review their licensing policies every five years and any cumulative impact assessment – an evaluation of the combined impact of different government policies - has to be looked at every three years.

They don't allow for diversity

Taylor said CIPs had already been withdrawn in Birmingham, Norwich, Oxford and Lewisham, and now it is time for operators to do something in their areas if there is a CIP there because “they don’t allow for diversity and are very stifling”.

She said now could be the ideal time to extend operating hours, amend conditions and refurbish your premises – or all three.

Operators should make the most of any external areas but to be mindful and have discussions with neighbours to avoid potential conflict.

Constructing an external management plan is also a good idea and have an effective dispersal policy. Taylor said it had become difficult to employ door staff “because they’ve left industry and gone to work in supermarkets”.

Taylor also said licensees could take a look at whether it is time to diversify and bring in DJs or other forms of entertainment, and to ensure training of staff is kept up to date.

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