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Landlords should ‘check contents of premises licence’ before refurbishing a venue

A licensing expert is warning operators to be aware of the contents of their premises licences or face a potential impact on the business.

Malcolm Ireland, partner and head of Leisure & Licensing at regional law firm Napthens, explains that premises licences provide permission for operators to carry out certain activities including the sale of alcohol, regulated entertainment and late-night refreshment.

A plan will invariably form part of the premises licence and that plan must accurately reflect the layout of the site, but it is an element that is often over-looked.

As a result, Malcolm’s team has encountered a number of situations where a premises has found themselves in a difficult situation with the authorities because the layout of the premises has changed, but the plans have not been updated.

He said: “An issue we encounter fairly frequently is where premises have been refurbished and the layout has altered, but an application has not been submitted to update the plans accompanying the licence.

“The lack of an application to vary may go unnoticed initially, but if one of the authorities subsequently notices the licensing plans are not up to date then the premises could find themselves in a difficult situation.

“Authorities may insist that licensable activities cease until after an application has been submitted and granted, which causes unwanted stress, expenses and time and may mean a premises closing temporarily. It can also result in criminal liabilities.

“Therefore, if your premises has a scheduled refurbishment, check whether the plans need to be varied prior to carrying out the works.”

Leisure & Licensing - head of Leisure & Licensing - Malcolm Ireland