With 2014 just around the corner operators need to start planning now, writes licensing lawyer Andrew Hunter
WHILE sport may be the central focus of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the event will create an influx of visitors to Glasgow in particular, which the licensed trade may look to benefit from.
Harper Macleod, legal advisers to the Games, recently held a free seminar in conjunction with the Games’ Organising Committee to help members of the licensed trade prepare for and engage with Glasgow 2014.
Whilst the Games may seem a long way off, the time to look at your licensing requirements for the Games period is now.
It’s not as simple as to say that it should be all right on the night just because the application relates to the Commonwealth Games.
Glasgow licensing board has been consulting on its general licensing policy statement for 2013 to 2016.
However, the draft doesn’t include any specific provisions relating to the Games period.
We don’t yet know if the board will adopt an area-wide strategy of allowing additional core hours “of right” or by application for the Games period.
It could look to copy the Edinburgh licensing board, which allows premises an additional two hours during the Festival.
Of course, that may not happen and licence holders should start considering what additional hours they might wish to trade.
The simplest way to achieve this is to make an application for extended hours, which covers a period of up to one month in any single application. The fee presently stands at £10.
While an application might be granted if lodged up to as late as 18 days before the beginning of the event, the safest approach is to lodge any application at least 42 days prior to the beginning of the period of which the extended hours are to apply.
Whilst an extended hours application might cover the whole of the Games period at a relatively low cost, it literally only allows you to extend hours. What if you want to do more?
An application for an occasional licence also costs £10 and is subject to similar timescales. It may cover a period of up to 14 days, be applied for any hours chosen, allow for children and young persons to be present and forseeably cover any manner of activities.
However, it has one major restriction – it cannot be used to extend the benefits of premises already subject to a premises licence.
Accordingly, if you’re looking to benefit from an external area during the period of the Games (one which you might not use during other times of the year) then an occasional licence will be perfect and they are routinely used to licence external areas during the summer months.
When considering the use of an external area there are wider considerations.
If the proposed area is on the public footpath, you need consent from the roads department of the City of Glasgow Council.
If the area was being used for a period of less than 28 days during Games time, it may be that planning permission wouldn’t be required, otherwise it will.
If what you have planned for the Games includes any change to your operating plan and is more than just an increase in the number of hours, it is likely to require a non-minor variation of premises licence application to be made.
In some cases it has been taking the board up to and indeed longer than 12 months to process non-minor variation applications.
Therefore, if you are looking at adding live entertainment, a permanent outdoor area or even something as simple as showing the events on television, and your current licence doesn’t provide for these, you need to get that application up and running.
• Andrew Hunter is a partner at Harper Macleod.