Mudcat Café message #1228859 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70681   Message #1228859
Posted By: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
19-Jul-04 - 07:44 AM
Thread Name: A little more news on Licensing
Subject: RE: A little more news on Licensing
This is a reply to Dave Bryant's question about new licence fees/costs.

The last government estimates were 100-500 for a 'premises licence'. This could include authorisation for a venue to sell alcohol, provide 'regulated entertainment', and/or late night refreshment. Once granted, the licence is supposed to last for the lifetime of the business.

In addition, there will be annual 'inspection fees' of 50-150. But again, these are DCMS estimates.

If a venue only wanted authorisation to sell alcohol - and did not 'tick the box' for entertainment, for example - there would be an additional licence fee to seek that permission at a later date. The DCMS say this fee for 'variation' will be about the same as the premises licence fee, i.e. 100-500. The DCMS claim that applying for entertainment permission is 'effectively free' is therefore misleading. The 'two for the price of one' alcohol/entertainment permission will only apply to existing bars, pubs etc, if they make a simultaneous application during the six month Transition Period (which starts on 7 February 2005).

Venues that are not licensed for the provision of a regulated activity, but do not want or need a full-on premises licence, could seek a Temporary Event Notice. A fee of 20 has been suggested by DCMS. Such a notice would allow events of up to 96 hours duration, subject to a maximum 499 persons participating. There would be a limit of 12 such notices per year per premises, but no more than a cumulative total of 15 days of such events per year. Applications have to be submitted at least 10 working days in advance to both the police and local authority. You can see that a Temporary Event Notice would, however, be impractical for an event such as a city centre folk or jazz festival lasting a weekend. Such events will need premises licences because they would almost certainly exceed the maximum 499 persons limit on a Temporary Event Notice.

Although the premises licence fee estimates are considerably lower than many local authorities currently charge for annual public entertainment licences, this doesn't mean there are no hidden associated costs. Far from it.

It is likely that there will be knock-on costs for many premises licence applications. That is because local authorities will continue to impose licence conditions, such as a requirement to have bouncers on the door for certain venues, or events. There is also the potential for further costs if there are representations which have to be considered at a public hearing (such as objections from residents over possible impact on residential amenity of later opening, live music etc). A local authority concerned about the potential for noise associated with a live band might require the premises to fit double-glazing, for example.

Finally, you have to remember that the figures above are only estimates. The government has yet to publish any of the fees, and it is known that local authorities have been lobbying hard for much higher fees. Licence fees, and other important matters covered by the term 'regulations'in the Act, will be published in August, according to the last DCMS press release.

Hamish