Time's nearly up

Winchester City Council is warning licensed premises that they run the risk of losing their licence if they have not applied for a new one, had it checked and validated by the Council by Saturday 6 August.

If the deadline is missed then existing licences will run out on 24 November. Officers of the City Council and the Police will be visiting all unlicensed premises after the deadline and may take enforcement action for selling alcohol, providing entertainment or late night refreshment, without a licence, which could lead to prosecution.

Despite numerous letters, public meetings and media coverage, more than half of the expected 500 applications have still not been received. There are only 13 (from Wednesday) working days left for not only pubs and clubs, but also village halls, hot food outlets, takeaways and entertainment venues to get full and complete applications in to the Council's Licensing and Registration Office.

If the deadline is missed then an application for a brand new licence will have to be made rather than just a conversion of the existing licence. This could take anything from a month if there are no objections, to at least two months if objections are made.

Cllr Robert Johnston, Chairman of Licensing and Regulation Committee, said "With the number of applications being processed and the time involved, unless they act quickly premises could well be without a licence over the Christmas period and that's not good news for anybody."

John Myall, Licensing and Registration Manager, said "if licensees apply in time to convert their existing licence they will be granted with the same times and same conditions as before. If they want to vary the hours or activities and there are no objections, they will get what they apply for. However, if they have to apply for a new licence because they missed the deadline, people run the risk of having the activities severely curtailed or even having the licence refused.

"All applications that are received before 6 August will take priority to be processed. New applications will have to take their place in the queue.