Real Estate Blog – “I’ll have that to go please”
The hospitality sector has had to make many operational changes over the last 12 months to survive. One of the major changes we have seen, has been the huge increase in alcohol and take-away food delivery services.
In response, Westminster City Council has published a consultation document with a view to amending its current Licensing Policy. Anyone operating licensed premises in Westminster will already be familiar with the restrictive policies in place and the challenges that are faced when applying for a new licence or seeking to vary an existing one. It’s not an easy nut to crack!
The consultation document identifies the Council’s concerns about the impact on residents living near to licensed premises that are providing a delivery or take-away collection service, as well as those impacted at the point of delivery (to the end-user / consumer).
The Council is proposing three new polices:
- Ancillary Delivery of Alcohol and / or Late – Night Refreshment Policy (DEL1)
- Shops Policy (SHP1)
- Delivery Centre Policy (DC1)
DEL1 will apply to venues that operate a business, such as a restaurant, fast food premises or bar, that want to offer a delivery service to customers in addition, or ancillary to, the main operation. The general approach is to grant these applications, subject to other applicable polices.
SHP1 will replace the existing off – sales of alcohol policy. It will apply to any premises whose primary function is the sale of goods or the offer of services – again the general approach will be to grant, subject to other applicable polices.
DC1 will apply to venues where the primary function is the sale of alcohol and food via a delivery service. Applications will generally be granted if they are not in a predominantly residential area, and again subject to other polices.
Interesting considerations raised in the consultation include:
- The use of third party delivery drivers or using your own delivery staff. In the case of DC1, the latter is likely to result in an application being considered more favourably.
- Although not a licensing objective, the consultation also references the Council’s commitment to tackling climate change and improving air quality, by encouraging applicants to commit to the use of cycles or no-emission vehicles, such as electric cars and vans. Although no-emission vehicles will not warrant an exception to some of the other applicable policies, the consultation makes it clear it will be viewed as providing an element of mitigation towards the prevention of public nuisance, which is likely to help with a contested application.
Although this consultation only relates to licensed premises operating in the Westminster, other councils may well follow suit and look to incorporate delivery services within their policy considerations. If you operate an alcohol delivery service from your premises currently, or are considering doing so, you may find the consultation document and proposals an interesting read. You can read the consultation document here and responses are required by Sunday 25th July 2021.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
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