Licence to spill

We spoke today to the licencing team at our local council who confirmed that no objections had been made during the consultation period and that our premises licence has been granted. That leaves building regulations approval and planning permission to sort which could take 8 weeks but should still give us time (we think) to open for the August bank holiday.

In the meantime, here is the operating schedule from our licence application (including links to resources which we found helpful). We ran this past a licencing solicitor who said it was more thorough than what he prepares for his own clients, but that we might open ourselves to having to accept certain conditions. Reading through it again now we probably did go into unnecessary detail, but as new licencees we thought it was important to demonstrate that we have ideas on how to promote sensible drinking. The licence was granted in the end without any conditions.

Describe the steps you intend to take to promote the four licensing objectives:

I am proposing to open a micro-pub which will sell mainly real ale and farmhouse cider straight from the cask made by independent producers. A micro-pub, although falling within the A4 use class, is not a standard pub but rather is more like a traditional alehouse providing a relaxed and sociable atmosphere for a comparatively small number of customers. Without amplified music, fruit machines or television it will feel like a small country pub despite its town centre location, meaning it will be attractive to discerning drinkers out for a quiet pint or two.

I am aware of my responsibilities as the Designated Premises Supervisor, having earned the Award for Personal Licence Holders in 2013, and in compliance with my duties:-

  • I will undertake ongoing risk assessments and adhere to the BBPA guidance on fire precautions and safety in pubs to address public safety concerns;
  • I will put into operation measures recommended by the Portman Group as well as complying with the council’s limitations as to when children are allowed on the premises to protect children from harm.

The prevention of crime and disorder

I will display ‘Challenge 21’ notices to remind customers they may be asked to show proof of age (passport, driving licence or PASS-accredited card only). A notice also will be displayed stating that drug use and violent/anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated on the premises.

Information will be displayed on the premises explaining what a unit of alcohol is and how it translates in practical terms to the drinks sold, together with information about the risks of drink driving and chronic drinking. All beer or cider will be available in half pints; stronger beers and ciders will be sold only in smaller measures. Wherever possible toughened glassware will be used. Customers who appear to be intoxicated will not be served and told to leave.

An incident book also will be kept to log any refusals on the basis of no proof of age, intoxication or anti-social behaviour. All of the above will be communicated to staff members during training, the notes for which will be left behind the bar for reference.

The premises will be monitored by CCTV. I have checked, but there is not yet a local Pubwatch scheme.

I will employ specific measures to discourage binge drinking, for instance by not playing amplified music, by providing chairs for most of my customers and by selling primarily real ale for approximately £3.50/pint. There will not be a ‘happy hour’ or similar drinks promotions.

Through this I expect my micro-pub to appeal to discerning, mature customers who are sensible about drinking. I would be happy to take further guidance from the local police in this matter and to take part in any campaigns promoting safe, sensible and social drinking.

Public safety

I am aware of the need to conduct ongoing Health & Safety risk assessments to identify and deal with hazards that might involve tripping, manual handling, electric shock, hazardous substances, etc. I also will conduct ongoing fire risk assessments. The ground floor will be left fairly open in terms of layout (no fixed seating) and there will be limited public access to the first floor. The building currently only has one door, which I am aware restricts the occupancy to 60 persons, but there is a door to the rear of the building which was bricked up some time ago and will be opened to be used again as a fire exit before we open to the public.

The bar will be placed in such a way that the entire premises can be monitored centrally. The premises will be monitored by CCTV; smoke alarms are already in place. A log book will be maintained to show that regular checks have been carried out to ensure smoke alarms, gas and electrical appliances, plus gas supply and electrical wiring are all working properly. Staff will be advised of the findings from the risk assessments during training, the notes for which will be left behind the bar for reference. Staff will also be asked to undertake First Aid and fire safety training so they are aware of potential hazards and what to do in emergencies.

The prevention of public nuisance

I am requesting hours to sell alcohol which do not exceed normal trading hours of other local pubs. The sale of alcohol will cease at 23.00 and I request opening hours until 23.30. This will give customers time to catch the last bus or train (timetables will be available on the bar, together with a phone number for a local taxi firm). Many other micro-pubs close during weekday afternoons, at 21.00 on some weeknights or close entirely one weekday. After judging trade patterns I will probably choose to reduce my opening hours accordingly.

Noise will be kept to a minimum: recorded music will be kept at a background level, any live music performance will be acoustic only, there will be no kitchen extraction fans and all deliveries or rubbish disposal will take place during daytime hours. Staff will be made aware of the above policies during training, the notes for which will be left behind the bar for reference.

Notices will be posted at the door asking patrons to leave quickly and quietly. There is not a designated car park for the premises so customers will not be congregating around their cars in the evening. To my knowledge No 33 Flixton Road is not within 50m of any hospitals, hospices, schools, places of worship or houses. I would be happy to take further guidance from the Environmental Health Department in this matter.

The protection of children from harm

Few activities will take place on the premises which might give concern to children’s safety (eg no adult entertainment or gambling) and a Challenge 21 policy will be in place. As the council has the final authority on whether children are allowed at any time, I will comply with any conditions made, but think it would be reasonable to allow children accompanied by an adult on the premises until 6pm each evening. I will not sell ready-to-drink bottles of alco-pops. I believe the ‘sensible drinking’ approach will help ensure that children are not exposed to incidences of violence or disorder.

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One Response to Licence to spill

  1. Alan Binns says:

    Hi Robert.
    I wanted to thank you for your comprehensive descriptions of your planning process as well as the stage by stage presentation of the development of the Prairie Schooner.
    I called in at lunchtime on Friday 24the October and had a first hand experience of The Prairie and was impressed and excited for you. I know that you will make a success of the project and wish you all the very best and reiterate my thanks for your hard work and kind advice.
    I am hoping to be applying for planning and licence soon…..!? ….I will keep you posted.
    Calan’s

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