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23 July 2020 | Comment | Article by Martin Jones

The Business and Planning Act 2020

The Business and Planning Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 22 July 2020 and came into effect immediately to help hospitality premises during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The following changes have been introduced from 22 July 2020 in England only:

Pavement Licence

Owners of businesses such as public houses, wine bars or other drinking establishments or premises used for the consumption of food or drink for consumption on or off the premises can apply to their local authority for a pavement licence to place furniture on part of the public highway to sell or serve food or drink supplied from or in connection with their business. The local authority may specify a duration for the licence but, if no date is specified, the pavement licence will expire at the end of 30 September 2021. Local Authorities must have regard to the needs of disabled people when considering whether or not to grant the licence and the licence holder must make reasonable provision for a smoke-free outdoor seating area. There are, of course, provisions for enforcement and revocation.

The following changes have been introduced to the Licensing Act 2003 (“the Act”) from 22 July 2020 and apply to on-licensed premises in England and Wales:

Premises Licence (not Club Premises Certificates)

The Act is amended to include “modification of premises licence to authorise off-sales for a limited period”.

If a premises holds a valid premises licence for on-sales only issued under the Act for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises on the day the Business and Planning Act 2020 comes to effect (22 July 2020) and no disqualifying event has taken place in respect of that premises licence in the three years prior to and ending on 22 July 2020, the premises licence is to be treated as if, at the beginning of 22 July 2020, it is varied so as to authorise off-sales during the relevant period which expires at the end of 30 September 2021, subject to the condition that every off-sale must be made by a pre-cut off time (11pm at the latest, subject to the below).

Any external areas already covered by the existing premises licence are still subject to any existing conditions and the new off-sales provision does not apply to times when the premises licence doesn’t allow sales of alcohol for consumption off the premises in outdoor areas of the premises (for example if you have a condition on your existing licence stating that your outdoor areas cannot be used after (X) pm then your off-sales must end at this time also).

This modification will also end at the end of 30 September 2021.

For more information on this topic or to speak to our experts, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Author bio

As the Head of the Regulatory Department, Martin acts in a wide-range of regulatory crime and professional regulation matters. Martin has built up over 20 years of experience and a wealth of specialist knowledge.

He leads the firm’s cross-departmental alcohol and gaming licensing teams. Additionally Martin manages the teams providing a range of outsourced services to local authorities, including court representation of local authorities Adult and Children’s Services Departments.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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