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Premises Licence – a reminder
We were recently approached by a Licensee who, following an inspection at his site, had been advised by his local Licensing Officer that he needed to submit a variation to update the plans which accompanied his Premises Licence. It transpired that he had carried out a fairly major refurbishment at his site several months earlier, and the refurbishment had involved changes to the structural layout of his site. However, he had neglected to update the plans which accompanied his Premises Licence.
The plans which accompany a Premises Licence form part of the Premises Licence and as such, they should reflect the current layout of the premises. In most cases (as was the case in the example above), an authority will overlook the fact that the plans are not accurate and just ask a Licensee to submit a variation promptly to rectify the position. However, we have come across situations in the past where an authority has refused to overlook the issue and has insisted that a Licensee ceases to trade until the plans are updated. They are technically within their rights to do this given that trading under a licence that does not have accurate plans is trading otherwise than in accordance with a relevant authority, which is an offence under section 136 of the Licensing Act 2003, and one which is punishable by an unlimited fine and / or up to six months in prison.
The example cited above is not an uncommon one. We find that updating the plans which accompany Premises Licences is often overlooked and the example serves as a timely reminder to check the plans which accompany your licence to make sure they are accurate. Failure to do so can result in significant stress, time and expense.