Business and Planning Bill 2020

The new Business and Planning Bill 2020, published on 25 June 2020, proposes significant changes designed to help licensed premises recover over the summer months any beyond. It will pass through all of the Commons stages today and we will update you on Royal Assent as soon as we can.

Serving customers outside to be made easier

The purpose of the legislation for the sector is to make it easier for pubs, restaurants and café to serve customers outside through temporary changes to licensing law and outdoor seating. It provides a streamlined process for businesses that serve food and drink to apply for a temporary pavement licence. The relaxations combine to maximise capacity for sites while complying with social distancing guidelines.

Pavement Licences (England only)

The new process introduces a cheaper, easier and quicker application process:

  • Reduced consultation period from 28 to 7 days
  • Application fee cap at £100
  • Unless the Local Authority specifies a time period it will not expire until 30 September 2021
  • Deemed grant if the Local Authority don’t issue a decision within 7 days

However the legislation does allow for enforcement measures:

  • Local Authority can add conditions to the licence and publish the conditions which it proposes to add to pavement licences
  • If conditions are breached the Local Authority may revoke the licence or may require steps to be taken to remedy the breach.

Off-Sales (England and Wales)

To allow an automatic extension to the terms on on-sales only premises licences to allow off- sales. This is a technical modification to the Licensing Act 2003 with no need for an application to be submitted or a fee to be paid. The only restriction on this automatic permission is for premises where an application for off-sales has been refused as a variation or excluded at a review within the last three years. This safeguard is to ensure that where it has recently been decided that the licensee should not have the permission they do not receive it now through this relaxation.

The default hours for off-sales will mirror those for which on sales are permitted. If you would like off-sales beyond your current permitted on-sales hours then a variation application will need to be submitted.

There is also provision to suspend any existing conditions on licences which restrict off-sales. For example, if your licence currently permits off-sales but only in sealed containers this will be relaxed to allow off-sales in open containers.

If you want to take advantage of these relaxations to help maximise your trade please contact Lisa Gilligan for full guidance.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.