New Laws Could Increase Late Night Drinking

Changes to alcohol licensing, which are likely to be introduced by the Coalition government in the autumn, could increase the amount of late night drinking, islands’ councillors heard last night.

At the moment pubs and individuals can apply for what’s termed a temporary events notice, or TEN.

This can be a one-off celebration or what used to be ‘an extension’ in a pub.

Each licensee can request 15 days worth of these later night openings per year but that is set to rise to 21 days.

And the hours of opening are currently limited to 96 hours in a row. Sue Pritchard says that’s equivalent to a weekend and has been used by some pubs for events such as Gig Weekend.

That time period is going to be extended to 168 hours.

But Sue says the Council could restrict all alcohol sales in the early morning, for instance from midnight until 6am, which would mean that, while the pubs could stay open with their TEN license, a new overriding rule would only allow soft drinks sales.

Fines for selling alcohol to children will be doubled from £10,000 to £20,000.

And the new national rules will mean council tax payers may no longer be supporting the pubs – Chris Savill says this effectively happens as it cost £34,000 to run the licensing service on the islands and the Town Hall pays half of that.

New legislation means that the Council can set the licensing fees to reflect the costs of our operation. The Council may also charge a late night fee for the premises that want to open after midnight and split the cash generated between the Town Hall and the police

Anyone who exceeds 21 days in paying for a licence renewal could lose it. Sue says one licensee, who was billed in November, has only just paid.