Alcohol & entertainment

Alcohol licensing

Covid-19 has meant changes to many practices and procedures and restrictions are set to change again for England on Thursday 5 November.

Click here for more information relating to Covid-19

Temporary Event Notices (TENs) during COVID-19 restrictions

The Government updated its guidance on the 11th July 2020 regarding working safely during COVID-19. It confirmed that performing arts can now take place outdoors with a socially distanced audience present. This means that outdoor theatres, opera, dance and music can now be resumed so long as they take place outside, with a limited and socially distanced audience, and the appropriate risk assessments in place.

Guidance published by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport aims to help performing arts organisations, venue operators and participants in the UK understand how they can work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe. 

We are mindful that the recent relaxation of restrictions may result in an increase in TENs being submitted to the Licensing Authority for events in the open air. However, notwithstanding the possibility of small scale events taking place, there is still an ongoing requirement to prevent the occurrence of illegal gatherings which could contribute to an increase in the spread of the virus and potentially result in a local lockdown. 

In order to assist event organisers to deliver a safe event using the TENs process, we would strongly advise the following:

  • ensure that you have conducted a thorough risk assessment for the proposed entertainment and, in particular, follow Government guidance in relation to COVID-19 measures. This is to ensure that performers and members of the public are safe and the risk of transmission of the coronavirus is reduced.
  • we strongly suggest that you submit the risk assessment you have undertaken at the same time you give notification of the TEN. This is to reduce the potential risk of objections being made by the Police or Environmental Health.

This will enable the authorities to properly consider the measures you intend to put in place. This may well prevent possible objections, which would result in either the event not going ahead under a late TEN, or a formal hearing being necessary for a standard TEN.

Please see below links for further information if you are thinking of organising an event:

Licence fees 

Licensing Act 2003 fees are set centrally. Councils don’t have flexibility and the Act does not provide any mechanism to refund licence fees.

Premises' licences are subject to an annual fee which is due on the anniversary of the grant of the licence. Invoices shall be sent when this is due.

Generally when annual fees become due but are not paid, the premises licence is suspended. This remains the default position.  

Premises may be closed due to the lockdown when the annual fee becomes due. If no licensable activities are being conducted you may decide not to pay the annual fee and allow your licence to be suspended. Suspended premises licences can be re-instated upon receipt of the annual fee payment. Premises can be open with the licence suspended if no licensable activity is taking place i.e. restaurant selling food for takeaway or deliveries but no alcohol.  

If you are entitled to remain open but are struggling to pay the annual fee due to the pandemic, please contact the licensing team to discuss.  

Alcohol

Businesses, organisations and individuals who want to sell or supply alcohol in Hart must have a licence or other authorisation from the Council.

The law and policy governing is overseen by the Home Office. For more information please visit the GOV.UK website, where you can also apply for an alcohol licence

Entertainment

If you are carrying out, or holding an event you may need a licence. The type of licence will depend on if it is a temporary event or, if you are looking for a longer term permission, you may need to apply for a premises licence.

    Application Forms

    You can view details of licensing applications submitted to the Council, including:

    • Public notices
    • Making a comment (register or login first)
    • Viewing historic applications

    We are responsible for enforcing many of these licences, along with several other services such as the police and trading standards and failure to follow the law could result in prosecution.

    How we deal with licensing applications

    Our Statement of Licensing Policy provides information on how we deal with applications. This includes information about: 

    Procedures, administrative issues and hearings

    Officers are working to process licence applications within the prescribed period and deal with customer enquiries as promptly as possible. Due to reduced staffing, you may need to wait slightly longer than normal for a response, if this is the case, please bear with us. 

    Licensing Act applications, hearings and requests are being addressed on a priority basis. We are happy to accept applications online, by email and/or by post, although applications served by mailing services may be delayed in the current climate.

    Consideration shall be given to business-critical matters which may involve deferring non urgent matters. Cases will be considered on their own merits in discussion with applicants.  

    Dealing with non-compliance

    If you are operational but struggling with specific conditions due to the pandemic, please contact us and make us aware you may be breaching conditions. We will consider each case on its own merits and weigh up the impact of potential breaches on the licensing objectives to establish if there is a need for flexibility. If it is determined that non-compliance with a licence condition cannot be temporarily disregarded, licence holders would be required to rectify any breaches as soon as reasonably practicable and with communications maintained with your designated officer. 

    New emergency premises closure requirements brought in by the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 (‘the Business Closure Regulations’) gives councils powers to close certain businesses and other venues that involve social contact without essential grounds for this to take place. These powers are also held by the Police and other Local Authority officers.

    Licensed premises found to be breaching the legislative framework in place to prevent coronavirus may face formal action with consideration towards a premises licence review application with a view to revoking the licence.

    Immigration Act 2016

    Provisions to prevent illegal working in the alcohol and late night refreshments sectors

    From the 6 April 2017, immigration safeguards are being introduced for alcohol and late night refreshment in England and Wales. The Licensing Act 2003 has been amended by Section 36 and Schedule 4 of the Immigration Act 2016 to incorporate these changes.

    The new provisions mean that licensing authorities are prohibited from issuing premises and personal licences for the sale of alcohol or provision of late night refreshment to anyone who is illegally present in the UK or not permitted to carry out work in a licensable activity.

    For all such applications made on or after 6 April, applicants should submit one of a number of specified copy documents which show that they are in the UK lawfully (if they are resident here) and permitted to carry out work in a licensable activity.

    Premises or personal licences granted as a consequence of applications made on or after 6 April will lapse if a licence holder’s permission to be in the UK and work is time-limited, and comes to an end.

    From 6 April, Immigration Enforcement, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, is added to the list of responsible authorities. It will be consulted for any new premises licence applications or variations for the sale of alcohol and late night refreshment. In some limited circumstances, also personal licence applications.

    Please see the document below entitled List of acceptable documents to show entitlement to work. You MUST submit an acceptable document with a:

    • new premises licence application
    • full variation application to a premises licence
    • new personal licence application for it to be valid
    • transfer of a premises licence

    Contact

    If you require any further information or advice, please contact the licensing team by email to licence@hart.gov.uk or by calling 01252 622122.