Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hundreds of London Pubs Risk Closure in Mix-Up over New 24-Hour Licensing Laws

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hundreds of London Pubs Risk Closure in Mix-Up over New 24-Hour Licensing Laws

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS LYDALL

PUBS are warned today they risk being shut by Christmas unless they comply with new 24-hour licensing laws.

Westminster council is holding an emergency summit for landlords and trade bodies after fewer than one in five premises applied for the new licences.

Only 628 of 3,600 Westminster pubs, clubs and restaurants have submitted valid forms.

The new rules also apply to off-licences, late-night supermarkets and takeaways that serve food after 11pm. All must apply for a new licence by 6 August.

The council, responsible for most West End entertainment venues, fears a lack of understanding of the new laws is causing chaos.

Few landlords appear to realise they must "convert" their existing licences to a new format, even if they have no plans to extend their opening hours.

If they do this by 6 August they automatically retain their existing terms, known as "grandfather rights".

But applying after the deadline will force them to submit an entirely new application, which is open to challenge from aggrieved residents. …

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