As we say goodbye to 2019 and look forward to 2020 we are in the midst of a move to our new offices in Leeds. From 2nd January 2020 we will have a new HQ in Leeds. After 8 years in Devonshire House we are moving to ST JAMES HOUSE, 28 PARK PLACE, LEEDS LS1 2SP. We are really pleased with our new offices which are spacious and modern, allowing for the continued growth we have seen in 2019. Amanda Usher became our first trainee Solicitor after working for us as a paralegal and Kirstan Lounsbach joined to further strengthen the Leeds based admin team. Luke Elford joined us in London from TLT to continue the development of our London presence as we moved our London offices to 42-46 Princelet Street, London, E1 5LP .

It has been an amazing year. Andy has had several trips abroad as our international gambling client base has grown significantly. We are seeing continued growth in this sector and I am hopeful I can make another exciting announcement in this area in the New Year. We have seen a hike in regulatory interaction in the Gambling Sector, with the Gambling Commission looking particularly closely at operators and their compliance with social responsibility, money laundering and proceeds of crime conditions. It has been very clear that the Commission is keen to act if they feel operators do not have first rate systems to ensure a transparent and safe gambling sector in the UK. We really do not see this slowing down and have written, and will continue to write, bulletins on this in 2020.

I have been doing much more work in the music sector, securing premises licences for Field Day festival, Drumsheds, Shindig festival on the back of successful applications for Printworks, Dock x and Exhibition in London. This is a really exciting area to be working in and it is always interesting to be involved in the SAG process around these major events. Again, we have some new and exciting developments in this area for 2020 and only see this area growing as we move forward.

As well as representing large multi-site operators, as a firm we have always represented some of the best independents in the country. 2019 has been a particularly strong year for our clients in this sector with a raft of new award winning openings around the country. It is still very exciting to be involved with these operators from site finding, proactive advice, delivering a new licence to celebrating with the client at opening events and seeing the premises flourish.

The Regulatory team has had some major successes this year in both defending operators when systems have gone wrong and let them down, as well as giving pro-active advice to operators to avoid the pitfalls which can be hugely impactful to businesses. The Regulatory team continue to be very active in the Taxi sector, which is a very active area of licensing and regulation. James and his team held a fantastic regulatory conference this year and we will be looking to hold a Gambling conference and other training events through 2020. Luke and I both spoke at the Institute of Licensing National Conference, and James spoke at the regional conference in York. We will continue to support and speak at IOL events.

We are looking forward to dealing with whatever 2020 throws at us. We have a new Government and movement on Brexit. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on the leisure sector, a bit of movement and more certainty will definitely help. With the amount that needs to be undertaken by central Government on these and big ticket issues we don’t foresee any major regulatory/legislator changes. That is not to say we wont see changes brought about by litigation through the courts creating interpretation of the legislation.

Everyone at Woods Whur wish you all a productive New Year; profits for the operators; safe environments for the regulators; exciting new developments and innovation. Back to the unpacking now though so we can settle into the new offices and hit the ground running for the new year.

Paddy Whur