Minor changes can be made to Premises Licences and Club Premises Certificates through the 'minor variation' procedure.

This procedure allows for low impact changes that would not undermine the licensing objectives to take place without the need for the full variation application procedure.

The licensing objectives are:

  • the prevention of crime and disorder
  • public safety
  • the prevention of public nuisance
  • the protection of children from harm

What is a Minor Variation?

Minor variations will generally fall into four categories:

  • Minor changes to the structure or layout of the premises
  • Small adjustments to licensing hours (but cannot be used to extend hours for the sale or supply of alcohol)
  • The removal of out of date, irrelevant or unenforceable conditions or the addition of volunteered conditions
  • The addition of certain licensable activities (for example, adding the live music activity to a premises licence that is already providing other licensable activities at that time or is already open).

What is NOT a Minor Variation?

An application for a minor variation must not be made to vary a premises licence to:

  • Extend the period for which the licence has effect;
  • Vary substantially the premises to which it relates;
  • Specify an individual as the Premises Supervisor;
  • Add the sale by retail of alcohol as an activity;
  • Authorise the sale by retail of alcohol between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. or;
  • An increase in the amount of time on any day during which alcohol may be sold by retail or supplied.

COVID-19 Arrangements

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Licensed Premises are having to make changes to their businesses to meet government guidelines and social distancing measures.

Two changes which you may be considering are:

  • adding off-sales to your Premises Licence
  • adding a new outside area to your Licence plan or extending your current area

If you would like to make either of these changes to your Premises Licence permanently, then you must apply for a full variation to your Premises Licence. The full variation process takes a minimum of 28 days and involves advertising in a local newspaper - please email licensing@swdevon.gov.uk for more information on applying for a full variation.

However, if you would like to make these changes to your Licence temporarily while the Coronavirus regulations are in place, then we can consider these through the minor variation process.


Applying to add off-sales during the Coronavirus pandemic

If you wish to add off-sales to your premises licence through the minor variation process, you will need to consider adding the following conditions to your premises licence as part of your application:

  • The premises shall only be permitted to sell alcohol for consumption OFF the premises during any period they are restricted under the "Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020".
  • Off-sales will only be made during the Premises present licensed hours.
  • Any onsite purchaser will need to show proof of age if they are considered under 25 years of age.
  • For delivered alcohol all staff will have received training using the free trading standards toolkit on underage sales, including the home delivery of alcohol - NPOANS (No Proof of Age No Sale).
  • Age verification will be conducted at the point of sale.
  • The delivery agent will also ensure challenge 25 age verification is conducted at the point of delivery which will support the legal requirement for verification to be done at the point of sale. https://www.tssw.org.uk/business/no-proof-of-age-no-sale/
  • Members of staff will ensure that all litter generated by patrons in the vicinity of the premises will be collected and disposed of. Regular checks will be conducted by the staff to enable this to be done.

If you do not include these conditions on your application, we will not be able to consider the changes through the minor variation process


Applying to temporarily add a new outside area to your premises licence plan during the coronavirus pandemic

Currently, under the Coronavirus Regulations, you must not allow customers to consume food or drink on your premises. This includes outside seating areas, or seating nearby to the premises. However, it is likely that the government will be relaxing these restrictions in July (providing social distancing measures are in place), so you may wish to prepare yourself in advance by making changes to your premises licence to allow customers to use outside areas not included on your licence plan.

Customers will not be able to use these outside areas until the government has confirmed that the Coronavirus Regulations will be amended to allow premises to re-open.

If you wish to add a new outside area to your premises licence plan (or to make an amendment to the current area) through the minor variation process, you will need to consider adding the following conditions to your premises licence as part of your application:

  • The use of the outside seating area shall only be permitted during any period that the premises is restricted under the "Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020"
  • The number of customers permitted within the outside seating area shall be limited to the number of seats that are made available.
  • The outside seating area will be checked regularly by a member of staff to monitor the behaviour of customers and to ensure that they remain seated.
  • A staff member will regularly check the impact of noise from customers using the outside seating area on nearby residential properties.
  • Customers will not be permitted to take open containers of alcoholic beverages outside of the designated seating area.
  • Members of staff will ensure that all litter generated by patrons in the vicinity of the premises will be collected and disposed of. Regular checks will be conducted by the staff to enable this to be done.

If you do not include these conditions on your application, we will not be able to consider the changes through the minor variation process.

As you will be making changes to your licence plan you will need to provide a new version of the plan to show the exact location of the proposed area. Please contact licensing@swdevon.gov.uk if you need a copy of your current licence plan.


Application Process

The easiest way to apply is online on the GOV.UK website.

Apply Now

You can also download an application form and email your completed form to licensing@swdevon.gov.uk.

You can also post your application form to the address below:

The Licensing Team

West Devon Borough Council
Kilworthy Park
Drake Road
Tavistock
PL19 0BZ

There is a fee of £89 for minor variation applications. Payment can be made through the GOV.UK website. If applying by email or post, please make payment through our website:

Pay Now

Advertising

Unlike the full variation process, you are not required to advertise your application in a newspaper or serve copies of the application on the responsible authorities. However, you must display a notice at the premises for ten working days. The notice for the minor variation application is white to distinguish it from the blue notices used for full variations and grant applications. The notice must comply with the requirements set out in the regulations.

You can download an example public notice Icon for word here [14.51KB].

More information about the public notice and its contents can be found below.


Consultation

On receipt of the application for a minor variation the licensing authority must consider whether the application could impact adversely on the licensing objectives.

In considering the application, the licensing authority will consult relevant responsible authorities. If there is any doubt about the impact of the variation on the licensing objectives the responsible authorities will be able to offer specialist advice. For example, we may need to consult environmental health about possible noise nuisance problems if we received an application to add an activity or extend hours for regulated entertainment. We must take their views into account in reaching a decision. There is no requirement to consult all the responsible authorities on each application.

The licensing authority must consider any relevant representation received from an interested party. Interested parties have ten working days starting from the day after the licensing authority receives the application to make their representation. The representation is only relevant if it clearly relates to the likely effect of the grant of the variation on at least one of licensing objectives.


Decision

Licensing authorities must allow the ten working day period to expire before making a decision but will then give you a decision within fifteen working days, beginning on the first working day after the authority received the application.

There is no right to a hearing in the case of minor variations.

If the licensing authority fails to respond to you within fifteen working days, the application is treated as refused and the application and fee must be returned. The licensing authority may agree with you that an undetermined application should be treated as a new application and the fee originally submitted will be treated as the fee for the new application.

Where an application is refused and is resubmitted through the full variation process, the full 28-day period will apply from the date the new application is received. The normal process for full variations should be followed (application copied to responsible authorities, blue notice displayed and advertised in a newspaper).

The overall test is whether the proposed variation could impact adversely on the licensing objectives.


Public Notice - Display

You will need to advertise a minor variation application for premises licences and for club premises certificates by placing a public notice on the outside of the premises. There no requirement for a notice to be placed in a newspaper.

The notice must be displayed for a period of not less than ten working days, starting on the day after the day on you give the application to the licensing authority (i.e. if you hand in your application on a Friday then the start date of the ten working day period will generally be the following Monday unless the Monday is a bank holiday when it would be the Tuesday). The notice must be:

  • at least A4 in size
  • printed on white paper (not pale blue as required for a full variation application)
  • printed legibly or typed in black ink. The heading in a font equal to or larger than 32, the rest of the notice a font equal to or larger than 16.

Public Notice - Content

The notice must contain the following:

  • In the case of an application made for a minor variation to a Premises licence (Section 41A), at or near the top of the notice the heading must read Licensing Act 2003: Minor Variation of Premises Licence (printed or typed to a font size to or larger than 32)
  • For an application made for a Club Premises certificate (Section 86A), at or near the top of the notice the heading must read Licensing Act 2003: Minor Variation of a Club Premises Certificate (printed or typed to a font size to or larger than 32)
  • There must be a brief description of the proposed variation or variations (printed or typed in a font size equal to or larger than 16)
  • The name of the applicant or club
  • The postal address of the premises or club premises (if there is no postal address a description of the location sufficient to identify the premises)
  • The postal address and, where applicable, the worldwide web address where the register of the licensing authority is kept and where and when the record of the application may be inspected
  • A statement that any representation must be in writing.
  • The date by which an interested party or responsible authority may make representations to the licensing authority (within the 10 working days from the working day after the working day the licensing authority receives the application).
  • That it is an offence knowingly or recklessly to make a false statement in connection with an application and the maximum fine for which a person could be liable on summary conviction for the offence (scale 5 on the standard scale which is currently £5000)

If in any doubt about the content of the notice, please check with the Licensing Team. If the notice is incorrect, you may have to re-start the consultation period and the process will take longer.

You must display the notice prominently on the premises where it can be conveniently read from the outside by passers-by. If any part of the premises abuts the public highway or other place accessible to the public for 100 or more metres in length a notice must be displayed at least every fifty (50) metres along that part of the perimeter. All notices must be displayed prominently at the premises to which it relates so that it can be read easily from the exterior of the premises.

A template for the notice can be found Icon for word here [14.51KB].

If you have any questions or would further advice on this process, please email licensing@swdevon.gov.uk.

Important Information

The contents of these pages are provided as an information guide only. They are not a full and authoritative statement of the law and do not constitute professional or legal advice.

Any statements on these pages do not replace, extend, amend or alter in any way the statutory provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 or any subordinate legislation made under it or statutory guidance issued in relation to it.

South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council accept no responsibility for any errors, omissions or misleading statements on these pages, or any site to which these pages refer. In particular, it must be noted that, although South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council have made every effort to ensure that the information in these pages is correct, changes in the law and the nature of implementation mean that the information in these pages cannot be guaranteed as accurate.