Hospitality licensees considering applying for future Temporary Event Notices (TENs) for events including those during the London 2012 Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations have been advised to apply now before the system becomes more restrictive after 6 April.
John Gaunt & Partners, a specialist legal practice of licensing solicitors, has said the main changes to the TENs application system could have a significant impact on the hospitality licensed trade.
On 6 April the changes relating to Temporary Event Notices contained in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act come into effect. From then the Environmental Health Authority (EHO) will join the police in being able to object to a TEN application within three working days giving licensing authorities the ability to apply conditions based on the EHO objections.
Jubilee or Olympics
The EHO could amount objections to applications for Temporary Event Notices on grounds of light pollution, smells, litter and noise nuisance. Jonathan Hyldon of John Gaunt & Partners told BigHospitality licensees considering applying for a TEN in the future or for Jubilee or Olympics events might be advised to apply now before the changes allow the EHO to raise objections.
"If a licensee applies now, then only the police will be able to object and that being on the crime prevention objective only. If an applicant waits until after the 6 April then the EHO will also be able to object and the grounds of objection will have expanded significantly to include the prevention of public nuisance, public safety and the protection of children from harm," he said.
"I would also highlight that if TENs are applied for at this stage and are granted the applicant will of course still be able to cancel them at a later date as long as they are cancelled up to 24 hours before the event is going to take place. Therefore apart from losing the £21 application fee, if subsequently cancelled, an applicant has nothing to lose by applying now but a lot to gain," Hyldon added.
Although it is not yet known how active the EHO will become when its new role comes into play in April, Hyldon suggested the central issue for licensed premises would be around noise. This could be noise caused by guests using outside areas for smoking during an event or when guests are leaving at unsocial hours.
This, he added, could be of particular concern to venues which have had noise-related problems but, until now, have not experienced a system where the EHO could object to a TEN.
A Temporary Event Notice is currently issued to licensed premises to allow them to carry on licensable activities for longer than 96 hours.
The changes will also relax this period allowing a single event to last up to 148 hours. The procedure for applying for a TEN will stay more or less the same but late applications will now be allowed.
At the time of the consultation surrounding the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) argued in a submission that the changes would stop the TENs system from working well.
The changes, they argued, would make the system less flexible and difficult and expensive to operate.
A spokesman for the BBPA suggested to BigHospitality that licensees think about whether any future applications might raise objections.
“The majority of pubs have been using TENs responsibly since their introduction, and will continue to do so. However, licensees need to be aware of these changes. If you feel that your TEN applications could raise objections, it is important to maintain good relationships with police and licensing authorities and discuss any proposals with them first,” he said.