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Licensing news Scotland - February 2020

Licensing news

Top Licensing Tip: plan for al fresco eating and drinking now!

It may still be dreich and wintery outside but the cliché, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” is apt when it comes to getting your permissions for outdoor eating and drinking in order.

For a new "pavement café” aka Section 59 Certificate you are likely to need two additional permissions, planning in advance and licensing thereafter.  These applications all need time to be processed, so get some specialist advice without delay.

In brief, you will need to apply for planning permission to have tables and chairs situated outside your premises.  To do so detailed layout plans and information about the type of furniture and method of delineation (wind breakers for example) is going to be required.  Thereafter, armed with your planning permission you will need a permit from the Roads Department and either a variation to your premises licence or occasional licences to authorise the sale and consumption of alcohol out there.

For those who have had permission in previous years now is the time to check:

  1. do you need occasional licences for the external area or is it covered as part of the premises licence?;and
  2. do you need to renew your tables and chairs permit issued by the Road's Department?  (Many local authority renewals need to be lodged before 1 April).

Don’t leave it until customers start to ask for it, act now to avoid disappointment.

2020 the year ahead: three licensing changes on the horizon

Occasional licence changes imminent following consultation by Government

A Scottish Government Consultation ran between April and July 2019.  The purpose of the Consultation was twofold

  1. to consult on whether to raise the fee for an occasional licence (from the current price of £10), and if so take views on what the new fee should be; and
  2. to consult on whether to fix a maximum annual limit on the number and duration of occasional licences for premises licence holders and personal licence holders.

 The Summary of Responses was published late December 2019.

52 out of 76 respondents were in favour of increasing the fee per application.  From the responses favouring an increase the majority opinion felt that the fee should increase to between £50 -£100 per application.

Responses were less clear cut on whether there should be a cap on continuous trading by way of occasional licence. 

The consultation responses are now being considered by the Scottish Government and whilst nothing is certain, a fee increase seems very likely whereas it seems less likely that a limit on number and duration will be imposed.

Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) Licensing update

Regular readers of the bulletin will know that the issue of SEV licensing has been around for a number of years.  The Scottish Government first released a consultation on SEV licensing in 24 June 2013 but it gathered pace with the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015.  As we hit 2020 many local authorities have commenced their consultations on introducing the regime which may see new licences required for SEVs.  Local authorities have been gathering views and evidence to inform their decisions, including:

  • Glasgow
  • Edinburgh
  • Aberdeen City
  • East Ayrshire
  • North Ayrshire
  • Renfrewshire
  • Dundee
  • Perth and Kinross

Glasgow will be holding evidence sessions at the end of January and all the abovementioned local authorities are expected to publish resolutions in the year ahead.  The resolution will set the permitted number of SEVs (this can, by law, be zero) and the rules and conditions of operation.

Watch out for future issues of the bulletin for updates.

Regulation of short-term lets

Short-term lets have been under scrutiny across Scotland in 2019, particularly in Edinburgh which has an estimated 12,000 properties available to rent on a short-term basis.  The Scottish Government ran a public consultation on the issue, which closed in July 2019 and led to the announcement on 8 January 2020 that a licensing system will be brought in this year and be operational by spring 2021.  Details are still outstanding but it will require owners to be checked to ensure they are fit and proper and demonstrate that their property meets safety.  Councils will also be able to designate control areas to ensure that planning permission will always be required for the change of use of whole properties for short-term lets.

View the full analysis of the consultation responses

Gambling news

TLT expands national licensing team with appointment of gambling law expert

TLT has added further strength and depth in licensing with the appointment of a prominent licensing lawyer Ewen Macgregor. Ewen brings more than 20 years' experience to TLT, including seven years as legal counsel for the Gala Coral Group.

His appointment cements TLT’s position both North and South of the Border as the “go to firm” for gambling law advice.

Pubs, gaming machines and test purchasing 

Our recent article by Stephen McGowan highlighted the renewed focus on gambling machines in pubs, and the enforcement action that one local authority has taken against an operator following a test purchase operation.  

The pub sector may well be viewed by local authorities as an easy target, and all pub operators with gaming machine permits, would be well advised to ensure that staff are properly trained in relation to their obligations under the Gambling Act; that this training is up to date; and that the due diligence controls are in place to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken.

Should you require any help with this, we can assist you in helping to put in place the appropriate measures to ensure that you are well positioned for any future test purchasing activity, and any subsequent enforcement action that may follow. 

Out and about

January, with its lofty resolutions can meat free or alcohol free or fun free for many but not our licensing solicitors.  Their only resolution is to continue to represent our clients in all four corners of Scotland!

To kick of 2020 we’ve been to Highland Board, South Lanarkshire Board and both Glasgow Board and Committee.

We look forward to more appearances as the year ahead unfolds.

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at January 2020. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions

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