The prospect of a last-minute flood of premise licence applications looms larger as councils still report significant shortfalls five weeks before the August 6 deadline.
East Herts District Council has had only 52 applications for premise licences out of a possible 570.
Chester City Council said it had only received 10% of the 650 applications for premise licences it was expecting. A spokesman said few retailers were applying for extended hours other than supermarkets.
City of York Council has only received 200 out of 900 premise applications. Half of these also involve extensions to licensing hours.
A spokesman for the Association of Convenience Stores urged retailers to send applications in immediately. “We strongly advise against retailers not paying (the higher fees for the new licences) in protest,” he added. “They have got to apply now.”
The independent Licensing Fees Review Panel has been set up to ensure licensing fees reflect a balance of local councils’ and licensees’ needs. It is expected to issue a review in October.