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A ‘CAN’ do approach to licensing?

The Government’s recent announcement in respect of its National Alcohol Strategy ( made headlines for the dropping, or at least putting on the back of the backburner, the proposal to impose a minimum unit price on alcohol. Delving a bit deeper into the matters which it will take forward, in the spirit of promoting growth the Government proposes to introduce an entirely new authorization called an ‘Community and ancillary sales notice’ (CAN) for those selling small amounts of alcohol as part of a wider service. This may be taken up by eg hair salons who are required to have a full premises licence in order to serve a customer a glass of wine.

Of more potential concern to residents is the proposal to increase the number of Temporary Event Notices (TENs) from which a premises can benefit from 12 to 15. It is not clear yet whether the maximum duration of a TEN would increase. The Government believes that any potential harm to residents is mitigated by existing safeguards and the ability of responsible authorities to object to TENs. Some licences already permit the holder to a certain number of extensions per year, for example on Bank Holidays, Saints’ Days or just a certain number per year with a police veto. It is not lawful to restrict the ability to apply for a TEN by a condition on a licence.

The proposal to permit businesses which provide late night refreshment to do so without a licence ‘where there is no need for one’ is also one which needs to be fleshed out, particularly with regards to shisha establishments.’ It seems that in contrast to the proposed CAN procedure, the Government will leave it to local authorities to decide if they wish such a measure to apply, and if so, where and when.

Finally, the Government is not changing the requirement for applicants to advertise applications in a local paper, in case there are adverse implications on community engagement. The extent to which it would have done so is debatable.