The 'minor variations' process came into force from 27th July 2009.
The fee per application is £89. There are no exemptions to this fee.
Annual fees remain unaffected and fall due each year in the usual way.
What type of applications will be made under this process?
There are 4 main types of minor variation application:
(Please see the government’s supplementary S182 Guidance)
- Minor changes to the structure or layout of a premises: (See paras 8.43- 8.44)
- Small adjustments to licensing hours: (See paras 8.51 – 8.53)
- Removal of out of date, irrelevant or unenforceable conditions: (See paras 8.54- 8.60)
- Licensable activities: adding certain licensable activities, including live music: (See paras 8.47-8.50)
The application procedure
Applications are made to the licensing authority on prescribed forms. The application must be advertised on a white A4 notice at the premises, and contain basic details such as a brief description of the proposed variation; name of the applicant or club; address of the premises; and date by which any interested party may make representations.
There is no requirement for the applicant to advertise the application in a local newspaper.
Applicants can volunteer conditions as part of the minor variations process, whether from their own risk assessment of the variation, or from informal discussions with the responsible authorities or the licensing authority. (See paras 8.55 and 8.56)
There are no hearings under the minor variation process.
The application will be determined by licensing officers under the Delegated Authority powers of the Council.
Role of responsible authorities
There is no requirement for applicants to notify responsible authorities of their application. Responsible authorities are only become involved at the request of the licensing officer.
The guidance states that licensing officers “must consult relevant responsible authorities if there is any doubt about the impact of the variation on the licensing objectives and they need specialist advice, and take their views into account in reaching a decision.” (See para 8.37).
The guidance also states “in many cases the licensing authority may be able to make a decision without consultation”.
Role of interested parties
Interested parties may make representations based on the licensing objectives.
Representations do not trigger a hearing under the minor variations process, but the guidance states that licensing authorities must take any representations into account in arriving at a decision. (See para 8.38)
Minor variations timescale
The timescale set out in the legislation is 15 working days.
Day one is the first working day after the day the licensing authority receives the application.
The licensing authority must then process the application and determine it within 15 working days.
If the authority fails to determine the application within 15 working days, the application is deemed refused, and the fee must be returned to the applicant. (See para 8.40)
The first 10 working days of the 15 working day period constitute a consultation period in which Interested Parties may make representations to the licensing authority.
During this period officers may consider the application and may consult relevant responsible authorities.
A determination of the application cannot be made during the 10 working day period; a decision on the application must be made during the remaining 5 working days.
NB: If the application is rejected within the 15 days, the local authority retains the fee in the usual way.
Determining minor variation applications
“The key test is whether the proposed variation could impact adversely on any of the four licensing objectives.” (8.42)
Licensing officers have no power to impose conditions; only conditions volunteered by the applicant can be added to the licence under the minor variations procedure.
The determination must be to grant or to refuse an application.
Notice requirements following determined applications
Granted applications: the licensing authority must notify the applicant of any variation granted, together with the time that the variation will take effect. This will usually be as stipulated in the application, but if the applicant stipulates a date before the notice of determination is given, the licensing authority will specify a later time in the notice.
Refused applications: the licensing authority must give notice to the applicant that the application has been refused, together with the reasons for the refusal.
Applications that have been rejected under the minor variations process can then be the subject of a full variation application or of a revised minor variations application.
The minor variations refusal does not affect any subsequent variation application in respect of the same premises.
Licences and summaries will be re-issued on the grant of a minor variation to reflect the changes made.
London Borough of Merton
1st Floor Annexe
Merton Civic Centre
Telephone: 020 8545 3969