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London's bars, clubs and restaurants could face being unable to serve alcohol unless they apply for a new licence b...
London's bars, clubs and restaurants could face being unable to serve alcohol unless they apply for a new licence by 6 August - the Association of London Government has warned.

There are 17,289 licensed premises in London, and thousands more off-licences. However only around 13 per cent have so far applied for a new licence under the Licensing Act 2003.

ALG chair Robin Wales said:

'We are concerned that the implications of these new licenses hasn't sunk in with every licensee in London. Despite the efforts of boroughs to raise awareness about what needs to be done under the new regulations.

'Some licensees think that they only need to apply for a new licence if they want to extend their opening hours. This isn't true - everyone with a licence to sell alcohol has to apply for a new one.

'London's boroughs don't want to be swamped by last minute applications for licences. We want to make sure that licences are dealt with as promptly as possible - to avoid hassles for all concerned - and encourage licensees to apply for their licence as soon as possible.'

Licensing minster James Purnell said:

'Anyone who sells alcohol, provides entertainment or serves food after 11pm must apply for a new licence if they want to continue trading when the new law comes in.

'I'd advise all licensees to get their application in a few weeks before the 6 August deadline to guarantee it's processed in time.'


If licensees wish to keep their existing permissions and conditions, known as grandfather rights, they must apply for anew licenses by 6 August. Failing to do so will mean their application will be treated as a new license, and will be subject to public consultation.

The ALG is also worried that as the August deadline approaches boroughs may become overwhelmed by applications for the new licences, with owners of venues realising that failing to apply could mean that their premises would have to close until they have a new license.

Any licensee wanting more information about how they need to go about applying for a new licence should contact their local council.

There are 17,289 on-licensed premises in London. This can be broken down into 9,683 pubs; 5,881 restaurants; 386 licensed clubs. The rest are described as restaurant/residential. (DCMS Statistical Bulletin Liquor Licensing, England and Wales July 2003 - June 2004).

Press release from Birmingham City Council follows:

Licences plea to businesses

Licensing bosses have made a final appeal to Birmingham businesses to sort out their licences before a new licensing system comes into play in November - or risk losing their livelihood.

Under the new regime covering licensing of alcohol, entertainment, cinema, theatre and late night refreshment, the city council will be issuing new types of licences which replace existing licences, including justices' licences.

Under new licensing laws, the city's licensing section is expecting approximately 2,500 applications for premises licences throughout the city and to date have received only 100. Applications to convert or vary existing licences need to be submitted by 6 August - after this date businesses will have to reapply under the new legislation.

Peter Barrow, head of licensing for the city council, said: 'I would urge anyone who holds a licence or intends to hold a licence for any of these activities to apply as soon as they can. We are very concerned that despite our best efforts to inform everyone affected, thousands of businesses may be unaware this new legislation applies to them.

'If they miss the August deadline they will forfeit existing rights and will have to go through again as a new applicant. Not only is this more time-consuming but it could even result in the loss of their existing licence and subsequently their business.'

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