Are you planning an event in London and wondering if you need a license? The answer is usually yes, especially if it involves the sale of alcohol. The type of license you'll need will depend on the details of your event, such as where it will be held, how many people will attend, and who is organizing it. In this article, we'll explain what type of license you're likely to need and how to go about getting it. A premises license gives only one place the legal right to sell alcohol on a permanent basis.
It is an essential requirement for pubs, bars or any business that plans to sell alcohol to be consumed on their premises. It is also mandatory for events larger than a certain size or under particular circumstances. A temporary event notice (TEN) is often referred to as an “event license”. When granted by the local council where you plan to organize a unique event, it gives you the legal right to undertake what is known as a “licensable activity”. This includes selling alcohol, serving hot food and drink between 11 p.m.
and 5 a.m., and providing entertainment, such as music or dancing, but only under certain conditions. Getting the right event license is easy with a little planning. You can mail your request to the Licensing Authority along with eight other “Responsible Authorities”. Or, you can submit it through the Licensing Authority's electronic service, if they have one, and most of them do. This saves you postage and printing costs and also saves time by verifying that the addresses of these authorities are up to date and that you have reported them correctly. If there are no objections to your request, it must be granted after 28 days.
If there are objections, you would normally expect to have a hearing within two months of the initial issuance of the application. That's the typical process for small, regular, or simple events. Most city councils have safety advisory groups (“SAGs”), which are non-statutory bodies comprised of the relevant agencies to help you organize a safe event that isn't incredibly loud and doesn't block local streets or country roads. Many authorities like to be contacted at least a year or six months before a new event to provide this important advice. Although by their very name they are “consultative”, some responsible authorities (police, environment, health, security and licensing, for example) have the power, if necessary and justified, to prevent their event from taking place. They can also impose conditions that are not commercially viable for you.
So check them out soon and listen to their advice; they should make sure you know what you're talking about. Festivals and outdoor events often take place in completely new places, which don't always have an obvious perimeter. When you submit your license application, make sure your design plans clearly describe it. This has a legal effect with respect to the sale of alcohol and whether it is done on or off the premises. It also affects capacity limits and the general requirement that everyone know exactly where the festival is going to be held. Are you going to show the campsites and parking areas on the plans? If people buy drinks and take them back to their tents, but the campsite doesn't appear in the plans, you'll need to have an authorization to sell alcoholic beverages at discounted prices.
Is the proposed location likely to cause noise problems for local residents? Think about where the stages will be, in what direction the speakers will face and the general location of the terrain. Involve residents from the start and explain your proposals. Some owners: stately owners, farmers, etc., may already have a premises license that you can use. Is it suitable for your purposes or are there conditions or limits on operating hours that you don't like? The owner may not even allow you to use their license usually out of fear that you won't respect its terms by causing interruptions then moving on for next year leaving them with a review of their license. Many landowners have so many individual events on their land that they exceed the allowable planning limit of 28 days per year (unless their planning permission allows otherwise). Don't have a festival that can't be held that year because your host gives you “the 29th”.
Make sure that there are no restrictive clauses on the ground or that associated buildings are listed as listed buildings that prevent you from organizing your event. The main authorities you will have to deal with to apply for your license will be the licensing authority itself, the police and Environmental Health. They will filter out any irrelevant or irritating objections in order for you only face objections based on genuine concerns. Environmental health agencies will be primarily concerned with noise. They will expect you to contact local residents and parish councils soon and have a detailed noise management plan.
Are you planning a one-time or annual event? If it's the latter, you might want to get a limited-time license that allows you to hold your event at the same venue. For example, the wording could specify “for a maximum of four consecutive days between the months of May and September inclusive” or “the first Friday and Saturday of June of each year”. Be careful with the wording of these conditions as you don't want them imposed on unnecessarily. Planning ahead is key when applying for an event license in London so make sure all your bases are covered before submitting your application!.