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With the festivities now finished, it is now time to look forward to 2024. This is going to be a year full of great sporting events, with both the men’s UEFA European Football Championship and Summer Olympics taking place. With that in mind, if you are looking to make changes to your premises, including refurbishment, extension of hours or introduction of a beer garden area, now is the time to get the wheels in motion and begin the licensing process.

With any changes you are looking at making to the layout or hours of your premises, it is likely that you will need to apply to have your licence varied. There are two processes for seeking approval for changes. In most cases these can be dealt with by way of a minor variation, however, more significant changes, including any increase in alcohol hours or area, will require a full variation to your licence.

Minor variation

A minor variation to the licence is defined as one that could not have an adverse impact on the licensing objectives. The licensing authority is likely to accept this process for small changes to your premises. The fee for a minor variation is £89.00.

You are not required to advertise the variation in the local newspaper however, you must display a notice on your premises detailing the terms of the variation.

There is a 10-working day consultation process at the end of which the authority has a further 5-working days in which to determine the application. Should the minor variation application attract representations (objections) then there is no hearing, and the application is automatically refused.

Full variation

Where the changes are significant (i.e., the addition of a new floor, bar servery or extension of alcohol hours) it is likely these will require a full variation.

The council application fee is dependent on the non-domestic rateable value of your premises and the application must be advertised in the local newspaper. A blue notice, detailing the terms of the variation, must be displayed on your premises for the duration of the statutory consultation period, being 28 days.

Following the end of the consultation period, if there are no representations (objections) to the variation, then the changes will be approved. If there are representations to the changes, then a hearing will be required, and this must take place within 20 working days of the end of the consultation period.

Prior to proceeding with any changes to your premises licence, we would always advise you to seek legal advice as depending on the extent of the alterations, early engagement and pre-consultation with the authorities may be required. It is important to start thinking of these things now, whilst there is still time before the summer period and the sporting events start, as depending on the extent of the modifications the process from start to finish can be several months.

Our Licensing team has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to making changes to a premises licence. If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to reach out to one of our team who will be on hand to help and guide you through any variations you wish to make.

Please note that this information is for general guidance only and should not substitute professional legal advice. If you have specific concerns, we recommend consulting one of our legal experts.


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