JD Wetherspoons have successfully appealed Newcastle City Council’s refusal to vary their Premises Licence for its premises within the City.
They had applied to reduce their hours to avoid payment of the Late Night Levy but with a condition that they could automatically resume their previous Licensing hours should the Levy no longer be charged, thereby avoiding the need for a further variation application to add hours back onto their Licences.
It is reported that this could open the floodgates for other Licence Holders who had been told they had to permanently vary to midnight to avoid the Late Night Levy.
When the Government introduced the ability for Local Authorities to introduce Late Night Levy fees it did not specify whether to avoid paying, an operator had to permanently vary its Licence as the Council and Police wanted or whether a temporary variation, as Wetherspoons is asking, could be allowed.
The decision of the Magistrates Court and the fact that other Councils in other areas have allowed such variations would support the fact that a temporary variation is permissible.
For further information, please contact Andrew Cochrane.