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Make Sure You’re Prepared For Diary Dates

It’s that time of year again – with pubs already inviting Christmas bookings, consider now the festive events you are planning, and whether your premises licence covers you for everything you want to do.

Christmas has a habit of creeping up on us – and of course other dates in the diary are looming, such as Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night – when you might have in mind special themed nights.

You can stage unamplified live music without a licence, and, since 6 April, amplified live music too to an audience not exceeding 500, between 8am and 11pm. If you want to put on live music outside these times, and are not already licensed for this activity, you need to give a Temporary Event Notice, or TEN, to cover you. A TEN can also be used to extend your operating hours generally, or to enable you to sell alcohol in your outside area, something that might appeal for Bonfire Night, for example, if your licence des not currently permit it.

Many licences automatically extend your hours for alcohol sales on New Year’s Eve to cover you until opening on New Year’s Day, but do check that yours does, if you are proposing to stay open later than usual. Also be aware that this entitlement – a carry-over from the previous legislation – does not extend to other licensable activities unless these have been specifically applied for, so you may need to consider getting a TEN for live music if you are planning to hire a band to see in the New Year with your customers.

Also check that you have not already used up your allocation of TENs for this calendar year – each premises can only give 12 in any year, spanning not more than 21 days in aggregate. A single TEN can last for up to 7 days, or 168 hours, though, so, subject to not exceeding your maximum permitted aggregate days, you could use a single TEN to cover you for the whole of Christmas week.

Since 2011, you can give a TEN as few as 5 clear working days (not including the day the TEN is received by your Local Authority, or the first day of the event) before you need to rely upon it. However, I would not recommend that you use these so-called “late TENs” for important income-drivers like Christmas celebrations. This is because there is no provision for you to respond to any objections received from Police or Environmental Health – the Notice will simply be rejected.

In any case, you will want to be publicising your special events well in advance, so complete the TEN process as soon as you can. A standard TEN needs to be submitted at least 10 clear working days in advance – under this procedure, if objections are received, you will have chance to rebut them at a hearing.

The absolute last date for receipt by the Local Authority of a standard TEN for Christmas Eve is 9 December, and for New Year’s Eve, 14 December.