Licensing fears as deadline looms
LANDLORDS across Suffolk could face challenges to the running of their pubs if they fail to apply for a new licence by today .New licensing laws mean anyone serving alcohol must now apply to the council, rather than magistrates to renew the terms of their licence.
LANDLORDS across Suffolk could face challenges to the running of their pubs if they fail to apply for a new licence by today .
New licensing laws mean anyone serving alcohol must now apply to the council, rather than magistrates to renew the terms of their licence.
If they fail to do this by today they could lose their licence or face reduced opening times.
Hundreds of businesses across Suffolk have so far failed to submit applications, meaning they will no longer be licensed after November 24.
Within the Star's readership, Suffolk Coastal has received the lowest number of anticipated applications, with just 30 per cent received on Tuesday.
Central services manager Judy Gowen said the response was disappointing but the rate of submission of applications had increased markedly since the beginning of July.
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However, having to process about 70pc of applications in the final month was putting pressure on staff and would mean some officers having to work overtime.
Mid Suffolk Council had received only 35pc of their estimated 400 premises applications.
Colin Sloan, acting legal services adviser for Mid Suffolk council, said: "By the end of the week we are likely to have 50pc of the estimated applications. If they are not lodged by August 6 they go back to square one.
"What they have already got is up for grabs: their existing hours could be reduced or they could be challenged by an angry resident.
"The benefit of getting the applications in is that the licence would have been protected."
Those who fail to submit applications will also have to incur the cost of advertising and will have to wait longer for the paperwork to be processed.
Brian Lazenby, chairman of Babergh's Licensing and Appeals Committee, said: "We have received approximately 210 of the 320 applications anticipated by the cut-off date.
"Any applications made after the cut-off date will have to be treated as new applications - these can take up to two months to process."
Babergh has received the highest percentage of predicted applications, followed by Ipswich Borough Council which has received 62pc.
N The Licensing Act 2003 gives pubs the chance to open for 24 hours, seven days a week. It also gives people a more direct say in the licensing in their area.
N The Act brings together the six previous licensing systems that control everything from clubs to village halls. Magistrate's previously dealt with some of these but they are now the responsibility of the council.
N All premises providing a licensable activity need a licence. If premises are already licensed and don't want to make changes to their licence, they can convert to the new licence without challenge.
N If they fail to convert by today their licence will expire in November and they will have to apply for a new licence which could be challenged.