from Derek Allen, executive director, LACORS

Sir; Over the past 12 months, local authorities have been working exceptionally hard to encourage the trade to submit their applications for conversion of their alcohol licences before last Saturday’s deadline.
However, since that date has now passed, a significant proportion of the trade has failed to seek conversion. They have therefore lost their existing ‘grandfather’ trading rights and will now have to apply for new premises licences, with the only guaranteed right being their existing opening hours.
Local authorities have been actively engaging with local businesses, and will continue to do so, in an effort to help them complete the application forms. Many authorities have been sending out regular mail-shots to relevant premises and have arranged an appointment system for people needing advice and assistance. Many other councils have similarly organised briefings, seminars, surgeries and used the local media to cascade their information.
LACORS and the Local Government Association (LGA) have also set up an information line to help traders who are unsure how the new licensing laws apply to them and to provide information on deadlines and contact details for local licensing authorities. The number is 020 7072 7447.
Those premises that have failed to apply for conversion of their existing alcohol trading licence now face further scrutiny by the authorities as well as local residents. This may lead to representations and objections, resulting in the need for licensing hearings.
It is imperative that the trade submit their applications in the next two months. Businesses should not delay any longer.