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Are you prepared for the big licensing shake-up?

21 July 2005

Holbeck Gyhll
Windermere, Cumbria
21-bedroom country house hotel.
Currently operates residential licensing hours, with normal hours for non-residents
Application for Grandfather rights
Sales overview Alcohol sales are 12% of revenue
Proprietor David Nicholson

Have you applied for your premises licence yet? Yes, I applied about four weeks ago. We've had an acknowledgement but we haven't been granted our licence yet. I'm not very happy with the volume of paperwork and the additional cost. It's taken us hours upon hours to wade through it all.

When were you first aware you had to reapply for your licence? We knew from about mid to late last year that we needed to get ourselves prepared for licensing changes in February 2005. The British Hospitality Association and other bodies have been alerting us.

Are the increased costs fair, and are you happy that councils will now be in charge? The increased costs are unjustified and totally unfair. When it was run by the magistrates it used to cost us 30 for three years. Now it'll cost us 1,200-1,300, because it's based on rateable value and we have high-quality accommodation. It's another stealth tax from the Government.

Will the new licensing laws help your business? It'll make no difference at all.

Lancrigg Country House Hotel
Grasmere, Cumbria
13 bedrooms, restaurant.
Currently has restaurant licence, but would like to change licence to serve alcohol to more people.
Sales overview Alcohol sales are less than 10% of revenue
Proprietor Robert Whittington

Have you applied for your premises licence yet?
I haven't had time to read it. There's more to life than filling in forms.

When were you first aware you had to reapply for your licence? I've had plenty of warning and it's my fault I haven't applied yet, but the information I've been given is quite weighty.

Are the increased costs fair, and are you happy that councils will now be in charge? I just think the whole thing is mad. Every time they bring in something new the costs go up. We're only a small place and now the fees are based on rateable value, I know we'll be paying more.

Will the new licensing laws help your business? Can't see them making any difference.

The Buck and Bell
Long Itchington, Southam, Warwickshire
Currently operates normal licensing hours
Application for Grandfather rights
Sales overview 50:50 food:drink split
Proprietor Nigel Jones

Have you applied for your premises licence yet? Yes, my solicitor made our application about two weeks ago - we haven't heard anything back yet.

When were you first aware you had to reapply for your licence? We've known since the beginning of the year. But the forms are a load of crap. I took one look at them and told my solicitor to get on with it - they're badly laid out and unclear.

Are the increased costs fair, and are you happy that councils will now be in charge? I don't think the fees for a licence are too far out of line, but it's really just an excuse to put it up. I expect more grief and aggravation now that it'll be council-run.

Will the new licensing laws help your business? I can't see it being any benefit at all. I want to shut the doors and be in bed at midnight.

Brace of Phesants
Plush, Dorset
Currently operates normal pub hours
Application for Grandfather rights
Sales overview 35:65 food:drink split
Proprietor Toby Albu

Have you applied for your premises licence yet? Yes, about a week or so ago.

When were you first aware you had to reapply for your licence? We've had plenty of warning from the trade press and our accountants, but very little from the councils.

Are the increased costs fair, and are you happy that councils will now be in charge? It's a load of cock and absolutely appalling. Why should I pay more to have the same licence as I had before and for something that I need to have to earn a living? The Government wanted to take it away from the magistrates and give it to the councils because the magistrates had made a pig's ear of it. The council has assured us personalities won't get involved in the decisions, but that's not how the world is.

Will the new licensing laws help your business? Not in the least - I can't see any situation when it helps.

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