jubileehallAn overarching licence is the Premises Licence which permits certain activities to be carried out – music, dance, plays, film shows etc. For community buildings, like village halls, this is free. The provision of alcohol can be included in this licence but at a cost (the initial fee is£100 followed by an annual fee of £70 provided the application process has been carried out correctly). This extension covers all events selling alcohol – those organised by the management committee as well as those organised by those who hire the hall. In these circumstances, as a concession to village halls, the management committee is deemed to be the “designated responsible person”.  The variation of the Premises licence to include alcohol will require that certain conditions are met including advertising the change in the “local press” -which could be a neighbourhood paper.

But many halls, with only a few events, might choose to opt for what is known as a Temporary Events Notice or TEN. This gives notice to the County Council & the police that the hall wishes to vary an aspect of its Premises Licence and/or that it plans to sell alcohol at a particular event. Hirers intent on selling alcohol in the hall are responsible for applying for a TEN. The TEN costs £21 per application so if you think there will be more than 4 events/year selling alcohol it could well be worthwhile to consider including alcohol in your Premises Licence. Halls can only have 12 TENs per year.  The application needs to be sent at least 10 working days in advance of each event.  More information on these licences and application forms can be found here on the County Council’s website. By applying and paying electronically you can avoid the cost of photocopying and posting the forms.

Entertainment Regulation Changes from April 6th 2015

April 6th heralded good news for those halls which have been looking at their current Premises Licence and wondering whether they should alter it to allow them to do more things or do the same things at different times.  Varying a Premises Licence is one of the few things you can do involving licences without incurring a charge – provided it has nothing to do with alcohol.

From April 6th 2015 halls which have  entertainment

  • between 8.00am and 11.00pm and
  • have an audience of no more than 500

can undertake the following regulated entertainments without including them in their  Premises Licence:

  • a performance of a play
  • an indoor sporting event
  • a performance of live music
  • any playing of recorded music
  • a performance of dance

So that means that the following forms of regulated entertainment still require a licence:

  • boxing and wrestling and
  • screening a film (unless it is shown with the intention not to make a “profit” even it it’s for raising money for a charity like your hall).

But before you get too excited about this welcome reduction in regulation, bear in mind that many halls already have a Premises Licence which is likely to allow them to do most of these things. In these circumstances halls are strongly advised to maintain their licences. There is no need for them to be handed back to the licensing authority (Northumberland County Council) because of this deregulation. Remember that at present a Premises Licence does not have to be renewed and no fees are charged to obtain one, or amend one, provided it does not include the sale of alcohol.

For a view on this from ACRE and Louise Currie of Community Action Northumberland please see this press release.

Photograph: Jubilee institute, Rothbury