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Licensing update

If you have any queries about this information, please contact us at licensing@middevon.gov.uk.

 

We're doing all we can to keep our Licensing services up and running. In order to do this, some officers will now be working from home and some processes and procedures may need to be updated at short notice.

We aim to update this webpage with all relevant information as and when it is required (and possible).

Who to contact about general licensing enquiries and application issues?

The best way to contact licensing is via email directly to licensing@middevon.co.uk.

The Licensing Team will endeavour to respond at the earliest opportunity, but please be aware, you may experience delays over the coming weeks. Our online register is available should you wish to view certain types of applications and licences.

Who to contact to report a licensing breach or a premises staying open when they should be closed?

All information should be sent to licensing@middevon.gov.uk. Our Licensing Officers will endeavour to respond at the earliest opportunity.

What is the Business and Planning Act 2020?

On 22 July 2020, the Business and Planning Bill received Royal Assent and its provisions came into effect immediately. This new legislation is designed to help businesses and support economic recovery in what are extremely challenging times. There are two significant licensing implications and they are as follows:

New temporary permissions for off-sales of alcohol

The Licensing Act 2003 has been amended to provide automatic extensions to premises licences that only permit sales of alcohol for consumption on the premises (“on-sales”), to allow sales of alcohol for consumption off the premises (“off-sales”), to 11:00pm or the closure time of an existing outdoor area (whichever is earlier).

These changes will help licensed premises to trade whilst keeping social distancing measures in place. This is a temporary measure until the end of September 2021.

As a safeguard, licensees who have had an application for an off-sales permission refused or had their off-sales permission excluded by variation or at a review within the last three years, will be excluded from this licence extension.

For premises with existing off-sales permission, the new provisions may apply temporary conditions to the premises licence. The conditions relate to:

  • the time when an off-sale may be made;
  • off-sales of alcohol in an open container, and;
  • the delivery of alcohol to homes and workplaces.

If an existing licence is more restrictive on these conditions, they're suspended and the temporary conditions replace them.

If problems of crime and disorder, public nuisance, public safety or the protection of children arise from how premises operate using the new permission, then a Responsible Authority, including the Licensing Authority, Police or Environmental Health will be able to apply for a new off-sales review of the licence.

The Government has issued guidance on these new permissions. 

New pavement licences

The new pavement licence process introduces a streamlined consent route to allow businesses using or proposing to use premises for the sale of food or drink to apply for a licence to place temporary furniture, such as tables and chairs, on the highway. This is also a temporary measure until the end of September 2021.

In processing these applications, we must, amongst other issues, have regard to the needs of disabled people when considering whether furniture put on the highway causes an unacceptable obstruction.

See our Pavement licences page for more information about these types of licences, including how to apply, view applications and make representations.

The recent Government legislation does not remove the statutory duties on Licensing Authorities to administer the Licensing Act. As a result, the Licensing Team is trying its best to administer this function as required.

I served a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) but now the event cannot go ahead. What shall I do?

If you want to maintain your available number of TENs for the rest of the year, you could cancel the one/s that you cannot proceed with now. There is no provision for the return of the £21 fee that you paid or ‘carry it over’ to a future event.

Do I still have to pay my Premises Licence annual fee under the Licensing Act 2003?

There is no specific exemption on offer at this time which allows you to avoid paying your annual licence fee. For this reason, and because we licence a range of premises, we are sending out annual fee invoices as usual. However, we request that if the premises have closed, you email us at licensing@middevon.gov.uk to inform us of this, providing the name of the business and licence number. We will then put a hold on any follow up action.

We appreciate that this is a very difficult time and guidance on the support available for businesses can be found here:

https://www.middevon.gov.uk/residents/coronavirus-covid-19-service-updates/coronavirus-information-for-businesses-employers-and-employees/

What licensed businesses are required to close?

For information on the businesses that must now close, please refer to Government information. Further information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close 

Can I offer a takeaway service?

Information about what is possible for your business can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close

You must still operate in accordance with your premises licence and any conditions that it contains.

I am planning to re-open my licensed premises when restrictions are lifted – how do I plan this and can I use outside areas?

Information about what premises can open (and how they can trade) can be found at GOV.UK - Closing certain businesses and venues in England.

The Government has recently released important guidance on the reopening of restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services and this can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb96e8e86650c278b077616/working-safely-during-covid-19-restaurants-pubs-bars-takeaways-030720.pdf

In addition to this, local guidance has been produced and this is available here.

General advice about planning the re-opening process can be found on our Help to reopen your business safely page.

Whether or not you can use outside areas depends on what is permitted by your licence and the conditions attached to it. In order to help, the Licensing Team is offering free advice to licence holders and you can request this by completing our Request for Advice - Use of an Outside Area form, and submitting it to licensing@middevon.gov.uk.

How do I look at new premises licence applications and full variation applications?

These applications can be seen here - https://www.middevon.gov.uk/business/licensing/alcohol-and-entertainment-licences/current-applications/.

We currently request that any representations are sent to licensing@middevon.gov.uk. Further information on making representations can be found here - https://www.middevon.gov.uk/business/licensing/alcohol-and-entertainment-licences/representations/.

Our priority is the safety of the public and the safety of you. For this reason please keep yourself updated on the current advice about COVID-19. This is available on the NHS website here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

The Government has also produced guidance for employers and businesses on COVID-19 which is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

On 13 May 2020, The Department for Transport also issued a letter for the attention of all taxi and private hire vehicle providers and local authorities. This letter can be seen here (include attached letter).

The letter contains links to the following documents:

Government guidance on providing transport services during the COVID-19 pandemic – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/884370/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators.pdf

Government guidance for passengers on who should be travelling and how social distancing rules should be observed - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#taxis-and-private-hire-vehicles

It is important that you check these sites regularly for updates and change your working practices if required.

New Driver applications

We are not currently able to process / issue new driver applications.

Licence renewals and reminders for documents

As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are sending out reminders for renewals earlier than normal. Pease note that we are not making you submit applications any earlier if you do not want to (although renewals should still be submitted 2 weeks before the licence expires). We are, however, encouraging you to submit them ASAP. This is because the Licensing Team is relatively small and we want to ensure that they are processed in good time.

In addition to this, we are now asking that you EMAIL all renewal applications (and supporting documents) to us at licensing@middevon.gov.uk. If you are unable to scan documents, please note that we are happy for you to take a photo of the document(s) and email them to us that way. However, please do not email us copies of your DBS Certificate - we can check these online if you have signed up for the Update Service (as required).

Once we have received renewal applications from you by email, we will get someone to phone you for payment.

Although at the time of writing this we are able to post licences, badges and plates out, this may well change in the future. Should this be the case, we will be emailing copies of all documents to you. If possible, you should then print these out and keep them with you while you are working. If you are unable to pint them, then you should save a copy of them on your phone and keep this with you while you work, continuing to display your old badges / plates.

Once we are then in a position to print licences, badges and plates again, we will send them out to you.

With regards to general documents that we need (i.e. insurance, medicals, taxi tests), these should also be emailed to us at licensing@middevon.gov.uk (assuming they can be done). Once again, if you are unable to scan documents, please note that we are happy for you to take a photo of the documents and email them to us that way (with the exception of DBS Certificates).

If you do not have a smart phone, or if you are unable to submit documents via email, please contact us as a matter of urgency on 01884 255 255.

Medicals

We are aware that there are delays with medicals. If this is the case for you, please complete the medical self-declaration form below and email it to us at licensing@middevon.gov.uk.

MEDICAL DECLARATION FORM

MOTs and Taxi Tests

The DVSA has recently published updated information on MOTs. This can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020

As a result, we will not be checking MOT’s until the extended due date. However, at the time of writing this, garages remain open and in order to ensure vehicles are compliant with all relevant standards (and safe), taxi tests are required as normal. If this situation changes or if relevant guidance is issued, this decision will be reviewed and this page updated.

Safety Screens in Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles

The Council are aware that some licence holders may be considering the installation of safety screens inside vehicles. The Council is not mandating this and it remains a decision for the licence holder, following the completion of a risk assessment. In order to ensure that such devices are safe, the Licensing Team have produced the following document:

Information on Safety Screens

If you wish to install such a device, please read this document carefully.

Drivers and ‘Critical Worker Status’

The Licensing Team are not responsible for making this decision. The Department for Transport has recently confirmed the following:

Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered Critical Workers. Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of ‘extremely vulnerable’ people may be considered Critical Workers on a case-by-case basis. Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home; requests for children to attend school should be discussed with the school.

Updated CFSG Guidance 4th July 2020

CFSG Guidance 04.07.20

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