The head of licensing at Westminster Council, which is the largest licensing body in England and Wales, has warned operators they have less than a month to put their applications in.
Cabinet member for licensing, Audrey Lewis, said businesses delaying applications past 24 September were unlikely to get them processed in time to meet the 24 November start date.
"There are so many checks and procedures we need to follow for a new licence application that it is unlikely they'll make it through the system in time," said Lewis.
With the latest figures from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport suggesting just under 40,000 licensed premises still need to apply to continue trading past autumn, councils fear there isn't enough time remaining.
New applications are open to challenge from the public and other groups, and with residents, the police and environmental health making their concerns known the resulting hearings and subsequent appeals are eating into the remaining time.
Many operators will also need to sit the new National Certificate for Personal Licence Holders, irrespective of if they were trading previously.
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