Time called for Merton licensees

Local Licensees are reminded that the new licensing regime under the Licensing Act 2003 is expected to come into force at some time in November 2005. However, if local licensees want to convert their existing licenses there is a statutory deadline of the 6th August 2005.

Under this new legislation local council will be taking over the responsibility of alcohol licensing from the Magistrates’ Court and will be responsible for the issuing of:

· premises licences for premises providing late night refreshment, entertainment or selling alcohol
· personal licence for the person who will be actually selling alcohol

Member clubs are also covered by the new regime and will need to apply for club premises certificates.

In the meantime licensees should be aware of the statutory deadlines if they want to convert their current licences to the new licences described above. The transitional provisions which came into operation on the 7th February 2005 allows them 6 months from that date to apply to convert and this means that applications have to be submitted by the 6th August 2005.

If licensees fail to submit their applications to convert by the 6th August 2005, they will be required to make new applications for premises and personal licences. Individuals applying for personal licences will also be required to possess a licensing qualification accredited by the Secretary of State. If licensees have not been granted premises licences or personal licences by the time the new regime comes into force they will not be able to trade legally and leave themselves open to prosecution.

Richard Nash, Merton Council’s Licensing Manager, said, “At present, we have received very few applications to convert existing licenses. We want to make this process as easy as possible for all local licensees, and will assist in making the changeover as smooth as possible.”

For further information contact Merton Council’s Licensing Team on 020 8545 4005/3929, email justask@merton.gov.uk, or visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/licensing

Notes to Editor
– Merton’s licensing policy was put together following the Government’s reforms of licensing legislation. The policy means local councils are responsible for the licensing of premises and persons involved in the sale or supply of alcohol, rather then the courts.
– In cases where there is more than one Personal Licence holder working at a particular premises i.e. nightclub or large public house, one person must be nominated by the licence holder as the ‘Designated Premises Supervisor’ (DPS) as being overall i